I normally hate any op-ed that starts with “It’s that time of year again….” And yet I was at a loss as to how to start talking about this week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Yes, the most corporately overblown non-holiday (Sorry, Flag Day!) of them all is finally here. I’m currently in a loving relationship with a wonderful young woman, and even I couldn’t help but grimace and curse under my breath when I saw decorations of chubby-winged little children being hung up around campus.
Every holiday has its grinches and scrooges, but none like the ones that come out on Valentine’s Day. I have sympathy deep down; no one wants relationships and love flaunted in their faces when they don’t have it or to be told they are not as valued because they are alone on one specific day of the year. Here’s the deal, though: If you’re feeling down and dejected for not having a date this Saturday, you’re buying too much into something that was made up by card companies to sell more candy before Easter.
That’s not to say I’m some complete black-hearted cynic about Valentine’s Day, I just think it promotes a very narrow idea of what love is because it’s all about profit-margins and the bottom line for retailers. Love is more than buying some red-tinted stuffed animal with a balloon and some heart-shaped candy for someone you care about. Love isn’t about buying presents because you’re socially expected to do that one day a year. Love isn’t about getting the best table for two at the best restaurant in town.
Love is bigger than these monetized constraints; love is constant and fluid. Love is watching awful movies with your roommates while you wait for your delivery to come. Love is calling up an old teacher and letting them know how much they helped you grow into the individual you are now. Love is helping a neighbor dig out their car in an unplowed parking lot, even if you miss the bus to class. Yes, love can even be a warm cup of tea and a full Netflix queue all to yourself in bed one night.
So even if you don’t have someone special to hold on to and go home with on Saturday night, don’t ever think that you aren’t loved or that you can’t show someone else that you love them. Valentine’s Day is, of course, just one day and that shouldn’t stop you from showing people you love them all year round.