We did it. We survived another year of Valentine’s ads tempting us to buy more chocolate. Or diamonds. Or soft, fluffy animals we don’t really need (but love to touch).
Valentines day has always been stressful. In elementary school, it was an epic battle to see who could collect the most valentines from the students. The boys always gave out cards with trucks or transformers, and the girls always had princesses, puppies, or flowers.
Later in middle school, celebrating Valentine’s day became optional. I purchased “candy-grams” for my friends, and was overjoyed when they sent some to me. This was also a great opportunity to send my crush some sugar-coated admiration.
High school still had candy-grams but they were suddenly double the price. Every year I told my friends, “Look I love ya, but that’s not happening.”
I felt bad for not being able to buy candy-grams for my friends. Once, out of all four years in school, someone in my group of friends received a random candy-gram. I don’t remember who got it or who it was from, but it was a nice surprise. We were all shocked! And then I went on to treat the day the same as any other…
Or at least I tried.
But as a single girl, watching other girls pass in the halls burdened with bouquets of red roses, obnoxiously oversized animals, or both made it difficult to smile or just ignore.
After V-day this year, my friend in high school told me:
“A bunch of girls were walking around school carrying giant teddy bears, and I was just like…wow, really?”
Guess not much has changed.
I comfort myself saying, “think of it as a day to tell friends and family you love them in an extra special way!” But even with a sense of optimism and a boyfriend, the day AFTER Valentine’s day brings more joy to my heart. (Half-priced chocolate!)
Now that I have an awesome boyfriend, I thought Valentine’s day would always be sunshine and love songs, roses and chocolates. But it turns out, the holiday can be just as lonely as a couple if the person you’re with doesn’t want to celebrate.
“I’d rather buy you a nice birthday present, or celebrate another date that’s special to us. Why should I spend money just because the calendar says I have to?”
He has a point, but I still don’t like it…
But what I didn’t know in high school, and often forget now, is that love isn’t inside the soft stuffings of a teddy bear, it’s not twisted between rose petals, and it’s not even hiding in a box of mouth-watering chocolates. Those are items that help express love, but they are not love itself.
Love, a love that lasts, is found in character. Love is patient and kind. And always protects. Above all else, love is worth waiting for, and it lasts longer than 24 hours in the middle of February.
If your heart is still bruised from a hard punch of single-awareness, or maybe you are with someone but still celebrated alone, remember what love is, and what it’s not.
It began as a holiday that allowed people to express their feelings for each other in a time when that wasn’t acceptable. (Read more on Valentine’s origin here.) But the times have changed and now we can keep our sanity, and save some money, by celebrating the holiday with friends and family.
Just don’t forget to stock up on chocolate the day after.
Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.
Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)
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