I’ve never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. I’m not a hater of love though. Not one bit. I’m just not a believer in the day. The highly commercial, endlessly cringe-worthy marketing lead up has always induced nothing short of an immediate gag reaction…
But I am one among many haters!
Even those that love their ‘Valentine’ still hate the day. So why is this one day of the year so polarising? What is it about Valentine’s day that turns a normally non-hating individual into a hater?
Is it the idea of celebrating the love you share for a special someone on a specific day? When you think about it, that’s exactly what Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is all about. It’s similarly marketed with cringe-worthy campaigns, but celebrated and cherished by all.
In the lead up to February 14th this year, the statement on repeat was ‘it is stupid to celebrate love on just one day because if you really loved someone, every day would be Valentine’s Day’.
While there is truth to this, no matter how much you love someone, every day is unlikely to ever be Valentine’s Day. Because work/egos/the football game – let’s just say LIFE gets in the way, and we are all guilty of taking the ones we love for granted.
So if it’s not the idea of the one day, what makes Valentine’s Day the bad guy vs the other commercially driven events of the year?
It wasn’t until I jumped into bed on the 14th reflecting on the day that I realised why..
Rewind to the day – It began with a Skype session with my family, who were delighted at the news that I finally booked tickets for Australia in April (yippee). Their excitement made me feel that flying a combined 50hrs for just 8 days at home will be totes worth it. After wrapping that up, and burning my tongue with hot masala chai, I dashed into the shower, put on a good 10 layers of clothing (yes the winter struggle in London is real) and got myself over to Neal’s Yard in Covent garden for lunch. I had organised a single ladies Valentine’s day lunch to ensure I wasn’t stuck on my couch, bored and stuffing my face with you know EVERYTHING IN MY KITCHEN – jokes. No seriously.
Anyhow, my 5 lovely girlfriends and I shared some yummy delights at Wild Food Café and chatted about holidays, work, sponsorship struggles, London life, boys and instagram filtering.
After lunch, we took some obligatory selfies before trapping an innocent by-stander in our (my) effort to get a cute group shot in the gorgeous courtyard. Cos honestly, I hadn’t instagrammed in 4 weeks (shock, horror) and the perfect photo is higher in my list of priorities than avoiding public judgement.
I left the girls to wander the streets of Covent Garden and headed over to Marble Arch to meet another single lady friend. We had booked tickets for Zoolander 2 and treated ourselves to hot chocolate & cinema food whilst watching possibly the dumbest film I’ve seen in a while. It’s right up there with Pixel. DON’T WATCH IT. Or at least DON’T PAY to watch it. After the film, I headed back to Islington and stopped by my local for drinks with my two new lovely housemates.
It was a jam packed 16hrs. I finally went to bed, absolutely shattered, reflecting on what a fabulous day it had been. And it was then, at that point that I smiled. I had finally experienced something I never had before…
The best Valentine’s Day ever.
It had been a day filled with the things I love most in my life – family, food, friends and London.
In that moment, I realised why I was a hater. It wasn’t the idea of celebrating love on the one day. Or the cheesy marketing campaigns. Or whether you are or aren’t in a relationship.
It was the idea of what a Valentine is.
We talk about soul mates and the notion that there is one person out there for us. Yes, in a world of 7.4 BILLION people, we are told there is ONE for us. Umm good luck to anyone on that hunt. And most of the marketing messaging tells you Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the love you have for that ONE person. That right there, the idea that ‘Valentine = that special ONE’ is for me what induces the gagging.
But like anything, we have the power to attach our own meaning to everything in life. So why not attach our own meaning to what constitutes a Valentine?
So here, right now, from today onward I’m embracing Valentine’s Day and taking the day to celebrate Love. Just Love. Full Stop.
That love could be for a special someone – a partner, a sister, a best friend, a child, a pet. ANYONE. Or it could be the things you love most in your life – food, music, art, rock climbing. OR dare I say it, your love for single life itself… ANYTHING. Who says these things can’t be your Valentine?
We may not have what Hallmark considers a traditional ‘Valentine’, but I bet most of us have someone or something that we do love in this world. So next time, when Valentine’s Day comes around, instead of barfing at your Facebook feed, stuffing your face with Ben & Jerry’s or crawling into hibernation for the day – try embracing what you love the most in the world. And use this day to celebrate it and remind yourself not to take it for granted.
Spend the day without expectation, without anxiety that you haven’t met the one… Hell, spend it without the notion of ‘the one’. Instead, fill your day with the things you love the most in your life and become a believer not a hater. I know I did – #thebiebs