January 22, 2017

14 Ways to Take Back February 14th.

Valentine’s Day evokes different feelings in different people.

For some, the event signifies romance—flowers and candy, candlelight dinners, a lover’s hand to hold.

For others, it is a dreaded day, one that amplifies the loneliness.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am 35 years old, and I have rarely had a good Valentine’s day. In fact, I can only remember one Valentine’s Day where I received a gift from a romantic interest. Other Valentine’s Days were either met with total indifference, disdain for the commercialism of the holiday or an acute sense of loneliness.

This year, I’m actually looking forward to Valentine’s Day. I’m currently on a dating break and so have less potential than usual for any type of romantic entanglement on the holiday itself, and yet I don’t feel a sense of dread or heightened feelings of loneliness. I feel sort of…free.

Last year, I was dating someone during the holiday, and yet Valentine’s Day came and went with zero fanfare, as he was actively avoiding me that day. That really should have been a clear foreshadowing of the ghosting to come, but I digress. I remember feeling disappointed that the day wasn’t observed with even the simplest card or a cheap box of chocolates. I understand that many men take this approach to avoid any hint of commitment (to those men, let me just say that you can make a small gesture on the day and no one is expecting a lifetime commitment to come of it).

But this year is different. I’ve decided to take a break from the world of dating for a little while so that I can focus on what is important to me, and so I do feel a sense of freedom. You see, I’m not dependent on anyone else providing me with a sense of romance or a grand gesture to make me feel special. I’m not expecting anything like that at all. I’m happy to be single, so Valentine’s Day doesn’t make me feel lonely or invalidated in any way. I won’t feel less desirable because I’m uncoupled or less worthy as a human being.

In fact, I’ve decided that I can provide myself with whatever sense of romance that my incurably romantic heart may need without having to have a love interest, date, or what-have-you.

So for all of the single ladies (or gentlemen) who might be spending February 14th alone, here are 14 ways to make it special just for you:

  1. Book a spa treatment. I highly recommend a hot stone massage or a facial. Even a mani/pedi can do the trick. And, yes, there are plenty of spa services for men as well as women. A spa treatment can help meet the need for the most basic human touch, which has been proven to bring about stress relief, and it also provides much needed relaxation. If your budget doesn’t extend to a spa appointment, there are many spa treatments that can be done affordably at home. Pinterest is a wonderful resource for creating wonderful spa concoctions from ingredients likely found in your kitchen. A simple facial can be made from yogurt and honey, and even a home spa treatment can help us relax and feel special.
  2. Buy flowers for yourself or go visit a garden. Want to avoid the mad rush at the florist and also receive flowers that won’t quickly wilt and die? I recommend Eco Flower for sustainable, eco-friendly flowers that will outlast what the local florist has to offer. These lovely arrangements are scented and can be delivered to your home. Visiting a local garden is an option in warmer climates, and there’s always the option of going to museum and enjoying gardens in art.
  3. Set the ambiance. Big band or old jazz on vinyl. Candles lit. Wear something alluring. All just for you. No one else has to be present for us to make the effort and feel great about ourselves.
  4. Wear sexy lingerie. Let it be your little secret as an added boost of confidence on the day.
  5. Buy a small gift for yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it shouldn’t be practical either. Buy something fabulous and impractical just to make yourself feel special.
  6. Meet a goal. Run a race or marathon on or near Valentine’s day. Learn something new. Sign up for a course. Take a small step to living a big dream. Recently, I ordered my passport as Step 1 for beginning my travel bucket list.
  7. Buy your own damn chocolates. Don’t get the cheap kind, unless that’s the kind you prefer. Just don’t sit around and wish someone else had brought you some when you could already be enjoying some.
  8. Watch an old movie. You want romance? Forget technicolor and go back to a good old-fashioned black and white movie. Or if you just can’t manage to sit through a classic film, put on The Notebook or marathon the Hallmark channel to make your romantic heart go pitapat. For those who aren’t in to romantic comedies, perhaps a bromance or a movie about sisterhood might do the trick.
  9. Listen to love songs. Or, conversely, songs that celebrate being single and happy about it. Keep it upbeat—don’t fall into the trap of depressing yourself with sad songs.
  10. Take yourself out to dinner. Dress up. Order dessert. Or cook an extravagant dinner at home.
  11. Make a friend feel special. Send handwritten Valentines to the special people in your life.
  12. Plan an outing with other single friends. Make reservations, dress up and go out. There’s no law saying that the holiday can only be enjoyed by couples.
  13. Bake and decorate heart-shaped cookies to enjoy and share with friends, coworkers or family.
  14. Be happy. Be relentlessly happy and proud of being you.

February 14th is a day on the calendar that we’ve assigned a certain meaning. For some people, the day is challenging to get through and is reminder of what they feel they’re lacking in their lives. To those people, I say take back the day. Own it, and then make it a celebration of life and all the forms of love that exist beyond romantic love.

We can make February 14th our own again, and take away its power to hurt us.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: @elephantjournal

Editor: Emily Bartran

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