Valentine’s Day is a thorn in the side of single people. Christmas decorations and gift wrap aren’t even marked for clearance before the stores start bringing in the boxes of Valentines, specialty chocolates and all things red and romantic. As single people, we just survived two major holidays with families and friends asking us why we are still single, only to be catapulted into the major lovefest called Valentine’s Day.
For many years, it bothered me. I’d grumble, walking past the shelves of ooey-gooey love covered in chocolate or expressed on a card that costs more than my favorite latte at Starbucks. Then there are the jewelry commercials and the ads for couple getaways to some swanky hotel in the city. All of it just seemed like one more perk to being in a relationship … and one more lack in my own single status. I want cards with the words “I love you” inscribed with a row of x’s and o’s. I want boxes of milky, delicious chocolate meant only for me. I want a dinner with someone who adores me sitting across the table at a nice restaurant.
And I’ve realized I can have those things while still being single.
I’ve gone through different Valentine’s Day emotional phases as a single person: sadness, frustration, anger, denial and apathy. Sometimes completing the cycle in my short commute to the office. Thank you, Taylor Swift, for all the feelings before I’ve had my morning coffee.
There’s nothing wrong with grieving singleness. Some days I still allow myself to walk through the grief because it’s legitimate. My heart feels the loss of not having a spouse or children of my own, and my birthdays are a reminder I’m not getting any younger as I wait. I don’t discount the dreams or desires, but I won’t let them dictate my days. For a long time, they did, and Valentine’s Day made me want to lock myself in my apartment with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while crying through “You’ve Got Mail.”
So, as a single person, I’ve chosen to celebrate Valentine’s Day. How am I doing that? I’m glad you asked.
- Buy the chocolate.
Buy the good stuff. Don’t wait for it to go on clearance. Spend the extra few bucks, get the stuff that only comes out once a year and enjoy the splurge.
- Send Valentines.
Any envelope in my mailbox that isn’t a bill is cause for excitement, and I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t like receiving a card or note from a friend. Send them to friends, family or that older widow in your church. Buy the silly grade-school boxed valentines or embark on some DIY creativity. It’s not so much the card that matters, but the fact that you want to let someone know you love them.
- Share a dinner with those you love.
Get fancy and go out on the town, or put on some sweats and invite some friends to your place for fondue. Spend some time with people who make you belly laugh and smile until your cheeks hurt. People who inspire you to live this life well.
- Remember YOU are loved.
If you choose to do all, some or none of my previous suggestions, this one is a necessity. You are loved — regardless of day (or holiday), relationship status (single, divorced, widowed), or even how you feel (unloved or unworthy). The God who created every star in the sky, every mountain range, every ocean view decided to create you, too! You are chosen, wanted and loved wholly. When God looks at you, He smiles because you’re His kid and He likes you. He really does.
Those are my big Valentine’s Day plans — to love and be loved. Single or not, I have a lot of love to give and receive. I’m thankful for friends and family to laugh with and a God to be adored by — and that’s why I’m celebrating this year!