For as long as I can remember, the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day have been fraught with worry, anxiety, and frustration. If I was single, I would scramble to find a date, and would often end up going out with some guy who I knew was dead wrong for me. If I was in a relationship, I would stress out about what to get my boyfriend and worry about him not getting me a romantic gift (which the dating books told me meant he wasn’t in love with me, and thus I should dump him) or my boyfriend not making any V-day plans whatsoever (which the dating books also said meant he wasn’t in love with me, and that I had to dump him). Sometimes, I’d have a boyfriend who had made plans, but I felt bad because I didn’t really feel like going out and fighting the crowd; I just wanted to stay in and cuddle. Basically, I was impossible to please and making myself and any guy in my orbit miserable.
For many years, I was what I like to call a Valentine Terrorist.
Valentine Terrorists: we all know at least one. These are the people who put a ridiculously oversized amount of importance and attention on Valentine’s Day, making everyone feel annoyed, frantic, frustrated, insecure, or just plain depressed about the holiday. Their favorite online spot to terrorize everyone is Facebook of course, and the in-person victims of their Valentine’s Day violence are usually close friends and family members (“So what are you doing today? Do you have a Valentine?”) Hiding behind their smiles, pink and red outfits, and seemingly innocent questions is a lot of insecurity and anxiety. The Valentine Terrorist is wondering if everyone else is having a better Valentine’s Day than she is, and due to her high level of concern, her fear that everyone is having a happier day than her’s is probably true.
This year, I have all but opted out of Valentine’s Day. I’m not feeling Scrooge-like (or whatever grumpy character might hate Valentine’s Day); I’m just not thinking much about it. I don’t have a date, or a boyfriend, or even some grandiose “we don’t need men to be happy!” plans with my girlfriends (at least not yet). And to my surprise and delight, I’m not bothered by it one bit. For the first time that I can ever remember, I’m treating today like any other day. Actually, that’s not quite true. Since so many other people are so focused on the holiday (and this is when my book was originally supposed to launch), my team and I will be doing some extra marketing to make sure folks know they can pre-order the book for a few more days, but that’s basically it.
It’s amazing how much we torture ourselves with self-imposed attachments. For me, it was an attachment to feeling like my life was on track, like someone had “chosen” me, and that I was loveable. I now know that my life is always on track (as my bestie JJ loves to say, “Wherever you go, there you are.”), that no man is going to choose me if I haven’t first chosen myself, and that I’m loveable not because of what I’ve accomplished, not because I have a boyfriend, or that I have a lot of friends (though I do have wonderful friends). I’m loveable because I’m alive, and that’s what really matters.
So here’s to spending Valentine’s Day however you want to spend it—with your honey, with your friends, with your family, by yourself, or some combination of all those. Having a great Valentine’s Day is whatever you decide it is, and the same thing goes for having a great life. Remember that.
How are you spending Valentine’s Day? Come and tell me at the blog. I read every comment!