When you’re single on Valentine’s Day

There are two words that make almost every single gal roll her eyes each year.

Valentine’s Day.

I’m not sure how I’d feel about Valentine’s Day if I had a boyfriend or husband. I still don’t think I’d be a huge fan because it seems like a superfluous day on which people spend way too much money for things that, to me, don’t actually signify love. Maybe they do to some people, but I can’t get on board. Besides, I hate chocolate, flowers, and jewelry, so the typical gifts aren’t for me.

I don’t have a Valentine, so I’m just going to imitate my favorite emoji.

I also don’t like the idea of one day out of the entire year being the day you’re supposed to show someone you love him or her. Isn’t that something you’re supposed to do every day—without gifts involved?

Maybe I sound like a bitter single person, but I don’t think I’m bitter about anything. However, I’ll certainly admit that Valentine’s Day is one of the most difficult days for a single person to exist because everything around you screams hearts and love, and there you are, sitting at home by yourself (yet again) while the rest of the people you know are celebrating the fact that their SOs and them have picked each other out of all of the other people in the entire world. Comforting, huh?

I’ve experienced 33 Valentine’s Days on my own, so I’m used to it—but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. It’s another sucker punch to the gut after surviving Christmas and New Year’s Eve solo. You get about a month and a half, and then that reminder pops right back up: Hey, girl. Here’s another holiday that makes you realize everyone around you is coupled up. Have fun watching How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. You could do it in four or less.

I’m no psychology expert, but I don’t think those are the healthiest thoughts to have.

Probably watching a romcom and thinking about candy

There are likely many women out there who gather together and have their own Galentine’s Day celebrations (thank you, Leslie Knope), and maybe that’s a smart idea and good way to forget that, even though you’re all alone on Valentine’s Day, you’re actually not all alone at all. I usually try to ignore the holiday, though I’ll take advantage of some of the limited-edition candies (I’m singing praises for you, Cupcake Hershey’s Kisses).

I try to get through February as quickly as I can, anyway—thank goodness that it’s a little shorter than the other months. It makes me think of the time I mustered up all of the courage I had and asked a guy out (I had purposely waited until well after Valentine’s Day), and he told me that he had a girlfriend he had never mentioned and said “I would, but I can’t.” Great. They later broke up, and that commenced a rollercoaster of emotions with him until he finally broke my heart for good months later.

But that’s the past, so perhaps this year I should soak up every second of February I can get, even if it does include what I consider to be an unnecessary holiday. The truth is that I love love, so how can I hate a day that is supposed to be centered on it? Sure, it’s gotten out of hand and has lost true meaning for a lot of people (not everyone, of course), but I can try to make it a day that I make sure everyone around me—single or not—feels loved. I know what it’s like to feel alone and wishing you weren’t, so I want to help others not to feel that way.

I feel like my 2017 Christmas card picture is fitting for Valentine’s Day, too.

I lead a group of high school girls at my church, and they’re depending on me to set a good example for them and to love them as they are. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do for everyone, as well? I want those girls to know that you don’t have to have a ring on your finger or a date on Saturday night in order to love and be loved—because love is a lot more than that. Yes, it’s different and special in its own way when it’s between two specific people, but it’s also something that should be shared with every person in every single walk of life.

So this year on Valentine’s Day, even though I won’t give or receive tiny little cards or go anywhere that a lot of people probably consider romantic, I will love. I won’t throw a pity party like Jessica Biel did in the movie Valentine’s Day, and I won’t storm into said party and beat the piñata senseless like Jennifer Garner did (still one of my favorite movie scenes), but I will love. And I won’t post a pic on Instagram with a new hashtag to celebrate my engagement, but I will love. I hope you will, too. And I hope we will continue to love every single chance we get on every single day we’re given.

Because love shouldn’t be limited to one day out of the year.

The importance of Feb. 15

There are a lot of haters out there on Valentine’s Day, and I admit I am sometimes one of them.

Let’s be honest: the single life isn’t always the dream life on that particular day. However, I made the decision a few years ago that there is a silver lining to the stupid holiday. (Oops, there I go again.) While it can be rather annoying to see people inundated with chocolate (I hate chocolate) and flowers (all they do is die), the day after Valentine’s Day is almost worth seeing everyone around you so happy in love.

I have two words for you, friends: discounted candy.

So when all of your friends are putting fresh water in vases for roses to try to keep them alive (won’t happen), you can hit up the local CVS and get some conversation hearts for 50 percent off. Cha-ching!

It’s actually quite nice–I don’t have to ponder and agonize over what to get for someone, because I already know the perfect gift to get for myself. And I’m not even paying full price.

Thank you, Valentine’s Day, for existing, so that Feb. 15 can bring joy to the single hearts once again.