By Julia Brooks
Try mentioning the upcoming Valentine’s Day among a group of college students, and you will likely be met with eye rolls, pouts and subdued scoffs.
“Valentine’s Day is just for couples.” “It just reminds me that I’m single.” “It is completely commercialized.” “I’m broke, how am I supposed to celebrate?”
Why does a holiday that is fundamentally about love elicit such negativity?
If you count yourself among the people who hate Valentine’s Day because it is an overly commercialized, cute cacophony of pink, then take just one moment to strip away the Peeps, bouquets and candlelit dinners.
The Valentine’s items that hit the shelves each February exist for a reason. Candy hearts and teddy bears are gifts we use to remind friends and family that they are special, thought about and loved. Maybe presents aren’t your thing. That’s perfectly okay. However, Valentine’s day is the one day every year that we should remind people, in silly ways or not, that we care about them.
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation, hosts an annual “Galentine’s Day” breakfast. Leslie describes it as a day when, “My lady friends and I leave our husbands or boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies.”
As hostess, Amy gives each of her guests a personalized 5,000 word essay on “why they are so awesome.”
Even though this scenario is purely for comedy, Leslie Knope’s character models the positivity that we could all show more of on Valentine’s Day. Her celebratory gathering stands in contrast to the annual “I hate Valentine’s Day” party hosted by Jessica Biel’s character in the 2009 movie Valentine’s Day, where single women congregate to reject the holiday. Leslie Knope is celebrating Valentine’s Day in the right way. For every opponent of Valentine’s Day, whether your distaste is vocal or contained, why reject a chance to show someone that you care?
Take this Feb. 14 to appreciate someone you love out loud. Maybe your best friend was there for you last week when you needed it. Maybe you haven’t called your mom in a while. Maybe your grandparents, your cousin or your sibling would smile at the simplest Valentine wish. Let this national holiday motivate you to brighten someone’s day.
My best Valentine’s Day memories have not come from romantic dinners or surprise bouquets of roses. I think of the annual nights spent with friends, pints of Ben & Jerry’s in hand, watching movies and cuddling on the couch. I think of the Hallmark card I get every year from my grandpa.
Don’t turn down a fantastic excuse to spend time with people you love just because your Facebook relationship status is checked “single.” Romantic love is just one type of love. Having that significant other can be wonderful.
However, be careful to not fall into the trap of hating Valentine’s Day because you lack a single type of love. Appreciate those around you rather than heckling every couple that you happen to see enjoying each other’s company. Why waste your precious time wallowing in negativity?
In conclusion, try not to spend Valentine’s Day moping that you are “forever alone.” Celebrate someone or everyone that makes you smile. Give someone a hug. Shoot your parents a text. Let your favorite people warm your soul. Then, maybe your ability to see the best in this wrongly forsaken day will spill over into the year to come.
Negativity is a heavy weight and as the Beatles sing, “Love is all you need.” Lift your Valentine’s Day dread away, and carry more warmth with you each day until the spring weather arrives.