Valentine’s Day is the strangest. Also, can we talk about how creepy this Vintage Valentine is? It might just be me…but cannibalism isn’t super romantic.
But back to my thoughts on Valentine’s Day. I mean, I love candy. Like, a lot. Especially Candy Hearts. So it’s the perfect, most glorious holiday in that regard. I also love Nicholas Sparks, wine, and Celine Dion so I feel like February 14 allows me to have some sort of justifiable celebration of being a single lady, and I indulge in all of those things.
I’m indifferent though, compared to lots of people I know that have an active, passionate hatred of Valentine’s Day. They all have reasons – and I totally get them. I do believe it’s a really hard day for people who are newly single. Maybe they’ve lost a loved one. That’s traumatizing and hard and I can’t even comprehend what they are feeling on this day. Maybe they’ve just ended a relationship (or worse, been broken up with). Yeah. This day is a hard day.
I’ve never had a Valentine. So for me, the sting of the day isn’t fresh. It’s all I know. During a night of restlessness last night, I thought about what Valentine’s Day has been like in the many seasons of my life.
In elementary school – I mainly was concerned with two things. I wanted to have the BEST Valentine’s to pass out to my class (My poor mother. I was incredibly selective and probably drove her crazy in our search for the ones I was willing to hand out.) I was also very interested in the candy I would be getting that day. After school, I would organize it – chocolate, the BELOVED Candy Hearts, heart lollipops, and then all other inferior types of candy. I usually gave those to my brothers, because I am SUCH a nice person. I never really was “sad” on Valentine’s Day because who could be sad with a shoe-box full of treats and cards that said hilarious things like:
In junior high school – people started having boyfriends and girlfriends, so Valentine’s Day was a little bit bigger of a deal. I remember the girl who had the locker above mine arrived at school to find pink streamers and heart stickers covering her locker. She started crying and asking all of us girls around her:
“Oh my gosh! Who do you think did this?” she asked, bouncing around in a giddy whirl.
“Um, probably your boyfriend. He probably did it. But, I mean, that’s just a guess.” I responded. Sharply.
Her boyfriend accidentally taped the streamers in such a way that the girl couldn’t get her locker open, and they had to call the janitor to help her. She was late to class.
Anyway, in junior high boys still were smelly and awkward so I wasn’t devastated I didn’t have a Valentine. My dad always bought me a cute stuffed animal and a box of chocolate, and I enjoyed them both in a sweet naive haze of contentment.
High school was a little bit harder. I had my first “boyfriend” but we broke up before Valentine’s Day and got back together after Valentine’s Day. The timing has always been curious to me, but whatever, I don’t like to dwell on the past (read: that’s all I like to do). People planned really cute Valentine’s Day dates and had massive bouquets of roses on their desks. Most of these days are a blur, but I did have one traumatic Valentine’s based experience that is important to share with you.
I grew up in a great youth group and we had lots of really fun traditions. One of them was playing “The Dating Game” on the Tuesday night before Valentine’s Day. While I was an underclassman, it was just funny to watch the older kids have to go through the process of answering awkward questions and selecting their date. However, there was one thing that I thought would be interesting. After the “pairs” were selected, our youth pastors took them to Spaghetti Factory and we filmed their “date” to show in Youth Group. It was like an MTV-reality show and always so, so funny. I would never have admitted it, but I wanted to be a contestant. How great of a story it would be…getting paired with a cute boy from my youth group and thus starting a wonderful life together…
So my senior year. It happened. Now, I may have rigged it so that my name was in the hat over 100 times (and by may, I mean I did). But whatever the case – I was chosen. I got the chance to pick a Valentine for the first time ever. It’s a long and horrific story, but I ended up being betrayed by all my horrible friends who egged me on to picking a sweet, yet incredibly awkward boy to go on the date with. This boy was ACTUALLY in love with me. He entered the game because he thought this could be his chance. When he won, he was elated because he thought it was a real date. He proceeded to call me every day before hand and he even showed up at my house to ask for my dad’s permission to date me. Ugh. I don’t want to be mean, and like I said, he was a sweet kid. But this was all just too overwhelming. We went on the date and just to make it really clear that I was not interested, I wore a velvet Medieval dress and barely talked to him. He brought me roses and asked me every 5 minutes if I needed anything.
I don’t tell this story to be rude, but just to highlight my ONE SINGULAR Valentine’s Day date experience. Dinner with a awkward boy (who borderline-stalked me from that night on) in front of my youth pastor and a camera crew, and eventually my whole youth group. Go big or go home. That’s how I roll.
In college, Valentine’s Day did become a day I didn’t look forward to. Couples took it more seriously, so extravagant dates were the talk of all the coupled ladies in my dorm. Both of my roommates had boyfriends, so it was fun to watch them get ready for dates…but this is probably when the Nicholas Sparks/Wine (er – juice?)/Celine Dion mix started happening.
It wasn’t all bad though – my sophomore year, we had a Valentine’s Day part at my best friend Alicia’s house. We ate WAY too much and one of the boys there ended up asking for my friend’s number and now they are married. It’s precious.
College was a sweet time, because even though I was single, I was surrounded by a group of girls that all commiserated and celebrated with each other. Being bummed about not having a significant other isn’t as bad when you have a community surrounding you. I’m grateful for the dozen (or so) girls who were my Valentines in college. We ate together and laughed together and drank together and if that’s not love worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.
And now…post-college. Well this is a tougher season. I’m entering my mid-later twenties and a good chunk of my friends are married or in serious relationships. Someone told me the other
“Lauren, I don’t know one person that goes to as many weddings as you!”
Me neither. Trust me.
It can be pretty shitty, if I’m honest, being single in this season of life. But as I was reflecting on this Valentine’s Day – I was reminded how great and fulfilling of a life that I live, single as I may be.
I travel and go wine-tasting and make music and buy clothes and read for hours and drink expensive coffee and live with wonderful girls and go to shows in LA regularly and blog and can get my Doctorate and can choose to watch Netflix all day if I wanted. These are things I hope to continue to do when I am in a relationship – but I do fully understand that they are 100% easier to do now since I am unattached. And it’s a choice I have to make daily, but I am choosing to be grateful for that.
This season of life is unique and important, and so even though tomorrow will be a day when lots of girls are getting chocolates and romantic dates and flowers and streamers on their lockers, I won’t be sad waiting for someone to decorate mine. I’ll be enjoying a wonderful day like any other day – a day to be cherished and lived to fullest.
As should you, single or not.
Because we can – single or not.
This post is dedicated to all my single ladies, all my single ladies <3