I opened the door, expecting flowers, chocolate…something. As the cold air hit me in the face, I took him in, quickly doing a mental inventory of the fact that he actually had nothing in his hands.
But…it’s Valentine’s Day…he wouldn’t have not brought anything right? It was probably in his car.
After a mediocre dinner and a drug store card that had been sitting on the front seat, I felt dejected as the night came to a close. I had had such hopes for this day…that it would be different than any other date.
But not so much.
Fast forward a few years as I bust open a package of Thin Mints on a different February 14th. Flopping onto my almost-falling-apart sofa I pressed play on one of my favorite romantic comedies. Alone.
As the night progressed and my Thin Mints slowly disappeared, I couldn’t help but wonder why my life didn’t look like the movies. Where was my Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail? Where was my Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days? Where was my Mark Ruffalo in 13 Going on 30? What was wrong with me that I was alone on Valentine’s Day?!
…I sound like a sap.
As Valentine’s Day approaches ever closer, I debated as to whether or not I was going to write about it. Would I acknowledge the “holiday”? Would I write an article to those who are still single? Would I write to those who make up half of a couple?
But I am going to give you my two-cents. Not that I am the resident authority on Valentine’s Day. I, in fact, do not remember a notable Valentine’s Day to date and have actually built the Eiffel Tower of dating disasters, but here I am. Talking about Valentine’s Day.
Many of us approach Valentine’s Day with careful trepidation. We do not understand why this stupid day is an annual thing. Single’s Awareness Day, that’s all it is. Woo freakin’ hoo. We’ve already planned our evening full of chick flicks (see above story for suggestions), chosen carefully for the level of pity they will bring to our parties, and stocked up on Ben & Jerry’s.
Then there’s the other side of the camp. We have a date. We are nervous and excited. And we have serious expectations for that date. Because it’s VALENTINE’S DAY. We’re expecting the works. And anything less than the works…well…we just can’t even think about what that could mean. That we weren’t worthy of an expensive dinner? That we didn’t look nice enough for flowers? That he just doesn’t like us enough to think of something more romantic than a movie? He probably doesn’t even care.
Both are actually really sucky places to be when Valentine’s Day rolls around. And I know this because over the course of my life, I have had a dog in both of these fights.
Let me let you in on something…it’s just a day. If you don’t have a date, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. If you DO have a date and it goes by the wayside of how you imagined…that’s okay. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It doesn’t mean anything.
All either of these things mean is that we have put too much stock on ONE day. It does not define who we are or our relationships. And…we take any potential enjoyment we could have gotten from the day when we put so much stock in it playing out like a movie. Let’s not hang those expectations on our dates.
Friday, February 14th is an opportunity to enjoy life. Date, no date, date with a group of girlfriends, boyfriend, or single. We need to enjoy whatever happens on Valentine’s Day. Let’s let go of our expectations, or the idea that it’s the most miserable day on the planet because we may not have a significant other. It’s not. We are all fine.
This may sound cliché, but the truth of the matter is, you’re loved on February 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and February 78th. Yes, I realize there is no February 78th. But if there was, you would be loved on that day too.
I know sometimes it’s hard not to get a little bummed out by relationship statuses. It happens. So if you need, allow yourself a few minutes to be bummed, that’s okay. But after you do, I challenge you to pick yourself up and go do something awesome. Don’t let the hype get you down.
Our identities are not wrapped up in what happens to us on Valentine’s Day. They’re wrapped up in the love that our Savior gives. It’s constant, it’s forever. And that’s pretty freeing because it means we can do whatever we want on Valentine’s Day with the knowledge that it doesn’t have any bearing on how desirable we are.
We can relax and eat some chalky candy hearts.