*Author’s Note: this blog was originally posted on 2/4/17
I wrote this blog from my New York City hotel room, where I spent Valentine’s Day weekend . . . and Valentine’s Day . . . alone.
Now before you break out the pity-party and the Ben & Jerry’s, let me clarify: I was in the city for what turned out to be a very productive work project, my awesome colleague was with me, and I got to hang out with one of my favorite people on the planet every night I was in town.
When we scheduled our two-day training trip, I jokingly said, “We’ll be on the saddest bus that’s ever existed – New York City to Baltimore. At 7pm. On Valentine’s Day.” (Our tickets were only $5, to give you an idea of just how sad that bus was.)
But it got me thinking . . . Why do people hate Valentine’s Day SO MUCH?!?!? I’ve heard all the rationales: “It’s a Hallmark holiday,” “It’s depressing being single,” “There’s just too much pressure to go all out for one stupid day,” etc. And I get it. It seems like a lot of attention, money, and stress devoted to a day which really, in the grand scheme of things, is sort of silly.
The problem is – I actually really like Valentine’s Day. I know I’m not supposed to. I’m a single girl. I’m supposed to hate this holiday. They’re going to kick me out of all those LuLaRoe Facebook groups (still not sure how I got added to so many), and tell me I can’t sing “Shake It Off” anymore.
And yet, I’ve always been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Not in a weird, “Oh, maybe someone will declare their undying devotion to me in a grand romantic gesture!” kind of way. Ugh. No. I’m breaking out in hives just thinking about it.
Not in a, “Woohoo, girl power, we don’t need no man!” kind of way. That’s called Galentine’s Day (duh!), and it’s actually a Celebration of Kick-Butt Female Friendships, not a boy-bashing brunch. It’s complete with waffles, and custom Galentine’s cards, and a reflection on the many amazing women in our lives.
I don’t even love Valentine’s Day in an, “Awww these couples are so adorable, maybe that’ll be me one day. . .” kind of way because frankly, I’m much more concerned about my future presidential campaign (2028: Let’s Get Our Sh*t Together, America) than I am about my love life.
Nope. I love Valentine’s Day because, when it’s at its best, it’s a celebration of true love – of love as close to unconditional as we’ll ever get on this earth.
I’m not talking about the jerkfaces who deserve one another or the people who married for their partner’s bank account or looks. I’m talking about that one couple you know who always has each others’ backs; the elderly lady who kissed her husband on the cheek as they sat on a bench in Central Park feeding the birds; the big brother walking his little sister to school hand-in-hand; the parents, somewhere, tucking the child they never thought they could have into bed; the woman who’s donning a hospital gown so she can donate bone marrow to a man she’s never met; and the homeless guy I saw on the NYC streets, splitting his sandwich with his equally homeless neighbor.
That’s what Valentine’s Day is celebrating when it’s done properly. It isn’t just a commercialized holiday that forces us all to buy roses at a triple surcharge. It’s a reminder that there is incredible kindness in this world. It’s a reminder that sometimes, in spite of everything, wonderful people do find one another, and that the rest of us who haven’t gotten there yet, and maybe never will, can rejoice in others’ happiness, even as we’re seeking our own.
So this Valentine’s Day, stick your head out of your monochromatic hotel room (yes, that’s a metaphor) and revel in the overpriced, overly pink, cellophane-wrapped reminders that there’s enough love out there for everyone. Celebrate the people who’ve found love and who’ve shown you love, and contemplate how you can be a genuine source of joy for others.
That’s what this silly little holiday’s truly about, whether you’re sipping champagne next to the love of your life or riding a midnight bus back to Baltimore.