By: Rachelle Zalter
It comes every year. There is no hiding from it. It is good to some and rough to others. It’s not Santa Claus. It’s not Boxing Day. It is not the dreaded phone call from your foreign relatives in the Middle East (or is that just me?).
It is Valentine’s Day.
But is this really the way we should look at a single date on the calendar? What makes February 14th vary from all the other days of the year? Why is it that eating excessive amounts of comfort food, watching movies for self-pity and sulking over failed relationships has become a national event for thousands of single people?
“Forever alone.” I’ll admit, even I have used that phrase once or twice. But we have no idea where our life is going to lead us. I may end up living in an apartment with 14 cats and an imaginary friend.
I have faith, however, that this will not be the case. On Valentine’s Day, it is extra important to remember that being single is not the end of the world. In fact, unless Valentine’s Day happens to fall on the apocalypse – extremely unlikely – it is probable that just because you are single now does not mean you’ll be forever alone.
When I went around to ask people what their thoughts were on Valentine’s Day, I was pleased to see that the opinions were diverse. To many couples, this holiday means rekindling the connection with a loved one. To some singles, it is a time to celebrate with friends. To others, it is a day devoted to loving yourself. And to the rest, put simply, it is just a day.
Lori, a fourth-year Arts and Science student, has warm feelings for the holiday. “It is a universal day of love,” she says. “It’s always nice to have an excuse to tell the people in your life that you love them.”
Others do not hold this view on the holiday.
“It may have begun with the intentions to be romantic, but it has become another means of marketing,” says an anonymous student. “If couples are going to be cute together, they should do so every day.”
But it is not always about partaking in romance. In some cases, people enjoy the holiday for atypical reasons. “I think it’s a great day,” Kirstin, another student, admits. “It’s an excuse to eat chocolate and not feel guilty.”
An especially unique response was from Hans, a first-year Humanities student. He was overly excited to celebrate this year.
“I have big plans for Valentine’s Day,” he says. He went on to explain a number of playful pranks that he has been planning. Hans’ favourite, he tells me, is conducting a fake blind date, which consists of him sitting in on a stranger’s meal and pretending that she is the girl he was set up to spend a Valentine’s dinner with. I can only imagine the utter confusion of this poor girl.
A third-year student, Andrew, mentioned a similar outlook. “I want to bring light to the holiday,” he says, “It doesn’t have to be so extreme. There’s more to the day than either being happy with someone or depressed by yourself.”
And this was definitely a shared opinion. A comment that stood out to me was from Vanessa, a second-year, who believed there was much more to worry about than being single on Valentine’s Day.
“It is important to remember that there are people without moms on Mother’s Day and dads on Father’s Day. It could be worse. You can love your friends on Valentine’s Day. You can love yourself.”
The various opinions of this holiday lead to a simple conclusion. Valentine’s Day is what you make of it. If you pronounce yourself forever alone, that is your prerogative. But you can also choose to do something with the 24 hours. It can be a day to love your partner, your family, your friends or yourself. And if you’re feeling extra daring, you can stretch it beyond 24 hours.
After all, if Valentine’s Day is what you make of it, what about life?