Lifestyle, Opinions

I’m single, but I’m still celebrating Valentine’s Day

My niece, 3, received a Christmas card with a heart on it.

Though she is unable to read, she recognized the shape. She immediately held the card close to her tiny body and gave it a hug.

“Valentine’s Day,” she said.

Now, she still plays with the card and won’t let her mom put it away.

That’s the magic of a holiday dedicated to love. The concept elicits childlike wonder and warmth. That’s why I love Valentine’s Day.

When I see shelves at retail stores lined with pink and red, overflowing with teddy bears and chocolates, I feel like my niece: enamored with a loving feeling. I think about the people in my life who deserve those gifts, myself included.

I love the holiday even when I’m single because love doesn’t have to be romantic.

Remember going around and giving your entire class treats on Valentine’s Day? We paused the lessons just to hand out little cards and candies. We can still keep this energy as adults. We can pause our busy, sometimes monotonous, academic and professional lives to just treat ourselves and our loved ones.

Every Valentine’s Day, I buy my mom a bouquet of flowers. One year, I got her a stuffed elephant which she now keeps in her car. My niece loves that toy too, and steals it from my mom constantly.

Life can be enjoyable when you find little pockets of joy among the sadness, frustration and loneliness. Of course, celebrating Valentine’s Day isn’t going to solve those issues, but it can provide a bit of an escape. It’s a little distraction from the madness.

Take one day off or just one moment to celebrate love. Don’t shame yourself for being single or feel bad about not getting a gift. Be the love that you want to receive.

The holiday can be what you make it.

It’s Galentine’s Day, where you can treat the best women in your life. It’s a self care day, where you take time to reflect and find things you love about yourself. It’s another day where you can give your family, blood-related or found and chosen, gifts to remind them you care.

Even the day after Valentine’s Day is a treat, with all the candy and chocolate going on sale.

You don’t have to make a grand romantic gesture or be in a relationship to enjoy the holiday.

Sure, it’s a cheesy, probably made up holiday, but this is America. Groundhogs predict the weather and turkeys get pardoned.

If anything, the holiday can serve as a reminder of this fact:

You are loved.

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