How my expectations for Valentine’s Day have changed

Valentine’s Day comes around and it is when people take a deep painful sigh as they walk down the aisles at Target and see red roses, pink boxes of candy and more red roses. Others are happy and smile as they look through which Valentine’s Day card they hope their significant other will choose for them. It’s a day we celebrate love itself, with the ones we love.

Growing up, I had high expectations surrounding Valentine’s Day. I wanted the typical relationship and the boyfriend asking the girlfriend to be his valentine.

I imagined dressing up, exchanging gifts, going to dinner and it’s all beautiful and perfect. A cute, romantic moment like in Lady and the Tramp sharing their spaghetti as Bella Notte played in the background.

Valentine’s Day expectations can look different for everyone. A hopeless romantic can dream of the best day which includes flowers and chocolate, while others are simply content with the sweets that come back for the holiday. There are different memories people have with it too.

Long Beach resident Chris Bornet, 28, reminisced his favorite memory regarding Valentine’s Day growing up and said, “I loved when we gave each other candies and those little Valentine’s Day note cards in elementary school. It was always fun and who doesn’t like free candy as a child?”

As time ticked on and I got older, I learned that being single on Valentine’s Day and still celebrating with the ones I love is even more exciting. Getting my nails done, dressing up and going out for drinks with the girls? Count me in.

Although Valentine’s Day for me has evolved into celebrating love itself with the people I most care about, whether in a relationship or not, I love Valentine’s Day.

It really is up to you how you decide what the holiday will be like. Even small gestures of giving someone a small box of chocolates or one of those little Valentine’s day notes can brighten anyone’s day.

A day that someone can think is dreadful can be turned into a day celebrating love and showing love to others.

I think of stories like the North Carolina woman who gives flowers to widows on Valentine’s day. Ashley Manning is a self-taught florist who began the hobby during the pandemic and has now started this touching movement on the holiday.

I feel we have the power to decide how Feb. 14 affects not only us but also our loved ones. It shouldn’t be weird to give friends and family candy or little Valentine’s cards that say, “I’m glad you’re in my life,” or “I love you for being you.”

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