Valentine’s Day: “Love,” singleness, and chocolate

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day where couples celebrate their romantic relationships, single people cry and whine about not having a significant other, and people give out boatloads of candy. A day filled with roses, different aromas, and romantic comedies that make me want to puke a little bit. Either that, or a day filled with loneliness, insecurity, and romance movies that make me want to puke a lotta bit. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you’re on, Valentine’s Day is about relationships, romance, and love. And also chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Valentine’s Day. It’s easily one of my favorite holidays. However, Valentine’s Day has so much stuff going on that I thought it deserved its own post. (Shameless plug: To see my basic overview of some other holidays, feel free to read my post “Life as Charlie Brown.”) Valentine’s Day is generally approached one of two ways, both of which result in Facebook becoming a wasteland of emotions and sickening garbage. It’s either a day to celebrate, or a day to complain, and people go about it the wrong way all the time. Not that there’s necessarily a right way to go about complaining, but it’s definitely possible to handle the situation better than most people tend to.

In the first Valentine’s Day camp, we have the people in a relationship. This includes  pretty much any couple, whether they’re in a new relationship, in a committed marriage, in high school, college, graduated, anything. For married people, whether they’re newlyweds or have been married for decades, Valentine’s Day is like another wedding anniversary in a way. It’s a day when they celebrate the person they love, and share their gratitude for that relationship. I love seeing the love shared between a husband and wife who have been married for years be celebrated on Valentine’s Day. It’s beautiful, really. When I see these people celebrate on Valentine’s Day, it makes me really happy. It reminds me of why I love Valentine’s Day. But this category is generally restricted to married couples, and a select few who are engaged, or have been in a committed relationship for a long time, or at least one that looks like it’s going to result in marriage in the near future. Then, there’s…Everyone else. This is when things get gross, messy, sometimes super uncomfortable, and leave me feeling sick to my stomach. This is when the obnoxious Facebook posts and such come in. Whether it’s the “I looooooooove my boyfriend so so so so so much and he loves me and will never let me go my heart stops whenever I’m near him and I blah blurgh blechhhhhhh <3” or the “My gurl is the hottest hottie that ever was hot and she’s super hot and I love her hot bod and she’s really hot,” either one makes me die a little inside. These are generally people freaking out about a relationship that is new, or one that’s been broken up and then “restored” just in time for Valentine’s Day, but regardless of the circumstance, it’s usually them freaking out about a relationship that hasn’t withstood any sort of real trial, one that hasn’t been tested and proven to be strong and committed, and one that’s probably going to end sometime in the next few months. These are generally people running on emotions, which, if any sort of relationship with anyone ever has taught us, are fickle. Emotions can change in a second, and these people are generally just throwing up their emotions all over everybody. As always, I’m speaking general trends here. Not everyone with these kinds of posts is in these situations, but for the most part, this is what Valentine’s Day is plagued with. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate relationships, specifically romantic ones, so if someone is in one, what do they decide to do? Flaunt it. They decide to rub it in the face of everyone who isn’t so “fortunate” (which isn’t really the word I would use) to be in the kind of incredible, amazing, love-driven relationship they’re in. Which, in turn, causes the second approach to Valentine’s Day.

In the opposing Valentine’s Day camp, we have all the single people. Valentine’s Day has also been called “Singles Awareness Day” by plenty of people. The reason being, after being plagued socially and in the media with an entire day of emotions, relationships being shown off, and a constant battering of “It’s great being in a relationship, too bad you’re not in one,” single people can’t help but feeling, well, singled out. A lot of people end up thinking “Oh, yeah. I’m single. I wish I wasn’t single, because look at how great not being single is.” So, in turn, what do people decide to do? Whine about it. This is when the Facebook posts on the opposite end of the spectrum come into play, the “Forever alone,” “Life is terrible,” and “I’m going to eat chocolate until I die alone hahahahahahahahahahaha *sobbing noises*” posts show up. Honestly, these drive me more crazy than the other ones. People whining and complaining about things can easily drive me up a wall, especially when they’re complaining about anything involving a desire for a romantic relationship. While all the complaining, pessimism, and general depression drives me crazy, single people can’t really help but feel lonely because of the not single people. But, regardless, it’s still an issue because of people approaching it the wrong way.

Here’s my thing about Valentine’s Day: Valentine’s Day all kind of revolves around one thing, but the one thing that Valentine’s Day revolves around is completely misunderstood. That one thing, the misunderstood thing, the thing that in reality has been completely forgotten about because it’s been misinterpreted and misrepresented is something quite simple: love. We live in a culture that portrays love as a special feeling shared between those two special people, something that’s only present and existent between two people with some sort of romantic involvement. And that’s exactly the problem. In our culture, love is considered an emotion. Love is the feeling of butterflies in your stomach when that special someone is near, love is the desire to want to spend time with that specific person, love is that feeling of affection for your significant other. In nearly all aspects, love is presented as an emotion. Generally, when people flaunt their relationship, or crave that feeling you get when you’re in a relationship, people are talking about an emotion. An emotion of affection. Love is not an emotion. It’s a commitment. It’s a choice. You don’t wake up one day and decide you love someone. No, instead, it’s a conscious decision every day to invest in someone, care about that person’s wants and needs, and having a desire to care for and help them when they need it. I could go on and on about this topic specifically, but that’s for another time. All that to say, if people recognized love as that commitment rather than the emotion that comes and goes, Valentine’s Day would be much more pleasant for everyone.

So why do I bring all this up? Why do I even care? Well, as I’ve said, Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. For me, it’s a celebration of love. Not the emotion people have mistaken it for, but the commitment that it truly is. Love isn’t something shared between romantic couples, it’s shared between friends, family, everyone you come into contact with, really. So, since Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, for me, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of relationships with my friends and family. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of legitimate love, and it’s a celebration of the commitments others have made to each other. I don’t need that “someone special” in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I don’t need to ask anyone if they’ll be my valentine. If you’re a good friend of mine, you are my valentine, whether you like it or not. If people would adopt a different mindset when it comes to love, affection, and commitment, Valentine’s Day would end up being a lot better for everyone. And I’d still get a ton of chocolate.

P.S. – I know this isn’t a letter, but it’s a post-script. I realized there was one thing I forgot to mention, and I also realized it would be difficult to just throw it somewhere in the middle, so I’m just putting it here. The last reason I enjoy Valentine’s Day so much is because it’s another day to remind me to sit back, enjoy my singleness while it lasts, and look forward to something even greater in the future. A wonderful relationship that I’ll get to share with my future spouse. Instead of wishing for it now, I get to look forward to it at some point in the future. (A little confused? Here’s another shameless plug: read my post “Finding Her” for more of my opinions on romance and the dating game.)