I used to love Valentines day when I was a little girl, because my parents who love me very much gave me cards and candy and told me they love me. (I love you!!!)
Middle school was harder- the boys gave the [other] girls jewelry, and exchanging cards was no longer mandatory for the entire class. That year was the first that I felt utterly miserable and cynical. I sat alone at my desk; no jewelry, no cards, no conversation.
I have had several sweet Valentines cards and candy, dates and dinners since. Once, I designed a bouquet for someone, from scratch, at a fancy flower shop. Another time, I created a youtube playlist with songs I felt meant something to ‘us’. A few years ago I realized the pressure I felt applied to this particular day. I felt compelled to dress up cute, to buy something nice, to make something VERY meaningful and special for the person I’m dating, to have a special dinner…. and I realized that not everyone thinks that way. And today, that’s ok. It takes the pressure off.
I’ve had some disappointments from people I’ve been in relationships with, because I was trying too hard and expecting too much. All in all, I feel blessed.
Today I am choosing not to base my happiness on my relationship status. I am who I am (wonderfully creative, sweet, beautiful) regardless of whether I have a date on any given day. Valentines day is no different. It’s sort of cute, and sort of weird, to exchange cards and gifts on a particular day. I personally would rather take time when I notice that I feel affection and appreciation of someone to let them know, possibly pick them some flowers or give them a brownie (which I could have eaten!) or even just tell them ‘Hey, you’re really important to me,’ and ‘I’m glad I know you. You make me smile.’ It feels strange telling people affectionate stuff out-of-the-blue, for the first 7 times or so, but it gets better. Try it out.
Last year, friends and I held a Halloween party on Valentines day. It rocked. No pressure to be all cute and cozy, no pressure to exchange anything, and plenty of people to socialize with so no one would have to feel alone and lonely.
I’m feeling good about appreciating friends, and letting go of ‘expectations’ and pressure.