St. Valentine’s Day is this Friday. It is upon us, and the longer I live, the more contempt and disdain do I find in my generation for this holiday. Sure, it’s been commercialized almost as much as Christmas, but I don’t understand the deep dislike. Even when I was single, I didn’t feel badly towards Valentine’s Day. I didn’t despair that I didn’t have someone to buy me flowers or anything, really. So often, the complaints that I hear about Valentine’s stem from anger at the reminder to those who are single that they are indeed that: single, and that there’s such a big expectation (gifts, flowers, dinner, sex), as well as disappointment when things don’t go as imagined, or don’t go at all. What I have noticed about these complaints is the direction in which they point; these complaints point at ourselves, what WE want, what WE expect out of Valentine’s Day. Isn’t the idea of Valentine’s Day pointing in the other direction, outward to others? Isn’t the point for us to show others how much we love them? Not just to sit and wait to be told how much we are loved. So I refused to fall into the trap of becoming bitter and angry about “Singles Awareness Day”.
Instead I turned my focus outward. Valentine’s Day became an excuse for me to especially remind those I loved that I did indeed love and appreciate them. In college, I bought flowers and cards from the sororities that were selling them for the occasion and charity and had them delivered to my best female friends. I bought snacks for my guy friends who had a wonderfully generous “open door” policy to their home. I enjoyed running around with my Valentine’s secrets hidden in my chest and in my smile.
When I began dating my husband, I will admit that Valentine’s became a bigger deal, particular our very first one together. I was desperate to detail out just how much I loved him – “how do I love thee, let me count the ways” and al that. Now, nine years removed from that particular February 14th, I caught myself at Hallmark the other day, about to buy a dozen sappy cards, telling my daughter that we “had lots of Valentines to buy”. The truth is: no, we didn’t. I didn’t. So I put them back and picked up one for my dear husband (which I cannot wait to give to him). I still plan on spending Thursday evening and Friday morning letting the people I love know that I love them and that I am so grateful for their presence in my life.
So, instead of hating on Valentine’s with all the “righteous” indignation and vehemence of our generation, maybe you can turn it outward and focus on telling those you love that you love them in simple, meaningful (and maybe even secret) ways.
Here’s to a restored faith in St. Valentine’s Day!