Every year, right around the 13th of February, I wonder to myself how different would it be if I had someone to share Valentine’s Day with. So far, I haven’t had an answer to that question. It has always been just a little depressing to know you’ll be spending the 14th all by yourself as you scroll through Facebook and Instagram updates of your lovey dovey couple friends splurging on each other just because it’s become some sort of a “tradition”.
Tell yourself all you want about how Valentine’s Day can also be a way to celebrate love between friends or family, but you can’t help the truth staring you in the face. And the truth hurts – or maybe it stings, even if it’s just a little – it’s not fun being alone. And Valentine’s Day, sorry to burst your bubble, celebrates romantic love, even though the holiday didn’t get associated with romantic love till after the 1300s.
I used to feel sorry for myself. I suppose I still do feel a little sorry for myself when I’m surrounded by the roses, and the chocolates, and the occasional teddy bear that’s synonymous to that one day of the year, none of which belongs to me. Because Valentine’s Day doesn’t remind me to love a little more. All it has done so far is present my failure to score a date in all its glory, whatever that means. I then proceed to mope around the entire day, hoping that next year, things will be different.
Even when I had a friend with me, like I did last year, I still had the sinking feeling inside me, asking, “Are you never going to find somebody? Are you going to be #foreveralone?” Just as Marina Keegan wrote, “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.”
You see, it all goes back to this innate need we all have to not want to be lonely. And Valentine’s Day is good at pronouncing your loneliness. It’s good at making everyone around you frantic because they’re trying to reaffirm their undying love in the most extravagant way possible. It’s good at showing you that all your friends are either attached or engaged or married or, if you’re older, you see arrivals of newborn babies… and here you are, still hanging on to your tiny life boat, hoping that someone else will row by soon and save you from the choppy waters.
Except this year, things will be different. And it isn’t because I’ve got a fancy date lined up – because I don’t – or because the boy I had a crush on finally cracked – because this hypothetical guy didn’t – or even because there was a rose waiting for me – and the rest of my Jam Band / Sing And Strum people – when I got back to my room last night. It isn’t because I’ve somehow gotten rid of the fear of loneliness, because I haven’t.
This year, things will be different because I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. Honestly, if you’re single like I am, you shouldn’t feel sorry for yourself either. It’ll turn out to be a colossal waste of time, not to mention all that negativity is not attractive or becoming of anyone at all.
This Valentine’s Day, instead of lamenting your singlehood, spend it however you’d like to spend it – be it by yourself and some good movies, with friends, or with family. Let it pass without much fanfare, just like any other day, and I think you’ll find it’ll take on so much more meaning when you need it to be.