When You’re Flying Solo On Valentine’s Day …
If you think about it, Valentine's Day is a pretty exclusive holiday; if you aren't one half of a couple, it's pretty much a middle finger to you -- or just another day much akin to Mother's and Father's Day for those who aren't parents. But at least on those days, most people have had some sort of parental figure in their lives, so there's a modicum of connection there.
As February fast approaches, and the first-world starts turning its thoughts to the commercially popular Valentine's Day festivities of buying hokey stuff to tell people who should already know, through your daily actions, just how much they are loved, those of us on the outskirts of coupledom (some by choice, others not) start that process of trying to figure out what to do.
For some, the approaching "holiday" brings a sense of disappointment, regret, loss and/or loneliness. For others it brings a sense of cynicism, having been jaded to all things romance or togetherness. When you're single, it's hard not to wince when every FB thread is a sappy diatribe of how awesome other's partners are, or an account of the 70 different ways so-and-so makes you feel incredible. And I'm not saying those things are bad, not at all. Having had that a time or two in my life, I know those feelings of the "warm and fuzzies" that someone you're sweet on can bring, and how sometimes you want to shout that out to the world.
This year, aside from being newly divorced after more than a decade of marriage, and also having the added sting of finding out about infidelity just a day or two before Valentine's Day, I'm just not feeling it. And I know I'm not alone.
So what are we, those who are flying solo, to do with this holiday manufactured for the bliss of having a beau?
If you search online, there are endless anger-based options of "dress burning parties" or "singles parties", or how you should "treat yourself" to something sweet; be your own Valentine.
But as I went down through the lists, I found a lot of what was being suggested was kind of a slam to those in love. And that's not it either.
As I am a firm believer in the idea of happiness being both a choice and a matter of perspective, I decided to check my perspective and the ideas that form it.
I'm not against happy couples; I want people to be happy together; that was the goal of any of my own relationships. And I like to let people know how important they are all of the time, not just on one day. I appreciate the strong and solid examples of selfless love that life has provided me, both in friends and family members. And I hope, one day, to be able to model for my kids what a loving, respectful, romantic relationship looks like.
But I'm not there yet. Right now, I'm in a position to show them what being strong and independent looks like. I'm in a position to show them how to appreciate what those beautiful qualities of a loving relationship look like, by acknowledging them in those around us. And in doing so, reaffirm to myself that I don't need to be jaded, or feel lonely, or miss out on a celebration of love, just because I'm on my own; I can celebrate it in those around me.
So, if you're solo this V-day, consider doing what I plan to do; high-five, send a card or call those couples in your life who are awesome and living life loving each other. Toast them. Love's not always easy. And sometimes those in love need the encouragement and support of others to keep working at it. We're always so quick to throw away things we think are broken. Sometimes, with some effort, those things can be made better. So let's support the effort!
This Valentine's Day, I'm going to choose to be happy for those who put in that work and realize the reward. They should really make cards about THAT for Valentine's Day.
"Congrats on lasting this long. You guys rock! Thanks for being an example of how to live life together! We appreciate the work you guys put into being you (the collective you!) Happy Valentine's Day. You deserve it!"
(A bit long to put in a card, I know, but you get the idea.)
So, what are your plans for this Valentine's Day, my solidarily solo friends?