Again this year, I’m single on Valentine’s Day; what should I do?
Dear No Love,
Listen, we all know that being single on Valentine’s Day is not a big deal. Yes, it’s easy to get sad when everything is hearts and flowers, and everywhere you look, it seems you see people who are in love and happy. That’s just social contagion. It’s not true, and your concern about being single will have abated the day after.
Here are a couple of things you shouldn’t do,
- Don’t take being single as some judgment of your worth
- Don’t look at Valentine’s Day as a life sentence
- Don’t suddenly think you’re going to change yourself or compromise your ideals, just not to be single next year.
- Don’t turn your feelings for the day into a quest to ruin it for everyone else.
- Don't get drunk, binge-watch terrible movies, and eat 9 pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Tomorrow is another day, and you have things you need to do.
I guess the bottom line here is that it’s not that important. It is a great day if you’re in a relationship; if you’re not, then it really doesn’t concern you, really, it doesn’t. If you’re not Jewish, do you get depressed because you don’t have a Rabbi around Hanukkah? Probably not. Do you get wistful and long to plant a tree with someone on Arbor day? I’m guessing not. So, don't give the day too much power; it’s not worth it.
What you can do
We know the reality; it’s just a day created, truly, by Hallmark to sell cards and candy. Did you know that spending on Valentine’s Day sits at about 26 billion dollars? That’s a lot of lousy chocolate and questionable choices. Give thanks that you’re not part of that. Until you are, and then go crazy.
But reality and the heart are not always on the same page, and I understand it is difficult just to ignore the day. So, if your heart is screaming for attention, and you’re not having a cardiac arrest, just love lorn, then here are ten things you can do to celebrate your fabulous single self on this day. No reason you can’t treat yourself well; after all, if you cannot love yourself, then how can anyone else? So love yourself!
Unplug for the day
Shut it all down, the email, texting, Twitter, TikTok, all of it. Unplug and just be for the day. This is great for a couple of reasons. First, it helps you avoid all the bruhaha of the day; you get to avoid all the “she said yes!” and “Now I know he’s the one.” and “How do you get bloodstains out of leather upholstery?” You avoid all that for the day; don’t worry; it will still be there tomorrow; you’re not missing anything.
The other thing unplugging does is it will show you that you might be too dependent on social media and your phone, and you probably have a severe case of FOMO, which keeps you bouncing to the “better” thing and is really insulting to those you’re with. Unplug and enjoy the freedom. Maybe this will become a habit.
Meet nature (H2)
I experienced this when my heart was broken. I felt like Manhattan was just too small, and I feared bumping into her everywhere I went. I had to leave. That’s what you should do. Take the day and get out in nature, mountains, meadows, brooks, lakes, the ocean. Just go and be in the air, breathe, walk, dance on the sand, whatever you want. Get out of your usual routine, see some creatures, and let the day go.
Pay attention to loved ones
Remember when you were a kid, and your mom gave you a Valentine’s Day card? Oh, that was just too much, but it was sweet, and she loves you. Well, make sure the ones you love in this world know it. On Valentine's day, get flowers, candy, and a card or two for those who have meant so much to you in this life. Spread the love.
And this is pretty easy because all those people will love what you give them because they love you, and they will be happy you recognized them. So, the whole I have to find the perfect gift, that’s not going to be an issue here; your acknowledging them is the perfect gift.
Read a Good Book
I know what you’re thinking, “Paul, really, a book. I know that’s good for you because you’re a lexophile; what about us normal people?”
Trust me, get cozy, have a nice beverage, coffee, tea, glass of wine, a bottle of scotch that’s old enough to drive, whatever makes you happy, and then crack open that book. Few things transport you to another world like a good read. And you can get all the romance you need or laugh at someone else’s terrible love life and not have to worry about cleaning sheets or having “the talk.” Read a book, escape, and face the new day with a great attitude.
Clean Your Space
Relax and hear me out. Psychologists say that when your space is untidy, it makes it harder to concentrate; it hangs over you like the sword of Damocles and is a constant source of frustration. So, get yourself a glass of wine or a bottle of bourbon that’s old enough to date itself, and look at your space. Tidy things up while you listen to music and dance.
This isn’t a deep spring leaning; it’s putting things in their place, changing the room around, or just dusting the pictures. Today your space, take back control, and believe me, you’ll feel much better in the morning.
Give over to sloth
I know this is the polar opposite of the above suggestion, but listen, if you’re a neat person and have weekly cleaning sessions and your things actually put themselves back where they belong, then tidying up the place isn’t anything special.
For the terminally tidy, I suggest you embrace sloth for the day. Toss the paper on the floor, leave the dishes in the sink, get take out and eat out of the delivery boxes, don’t return calls, just don’t. Spend the day being impressively lazy. It will all be there tomorrow, and you can tidy to your heart’s content, but let it all go for today.
Make an extravagant meal
Empower your inner Ina Garten, take some time in the kitchen, and create a meal. Do it right, shop for fresh ingredients, put time aside, so you’re not rushing, grab a glass of wine or a bottle of scotch that’s old enough to be elected president, and cook.
You could invite a single friend or friends by to help you eat, but that’s not a must. The point is you work with your hands, you feed yourself, you enjoy your experience, and you do it alone. You can do anything you want, veen if you’re alone on this day of … whatever.
Release your inner Da Vinci and create something. Paint, draw, sculpt, write a short story or a poem, your choice.
Be creative, say yes, and just play on a canvas or blank page. Don't worry about being good enough or making money; you’re not making a major life change; you’re being creative for the day. And, who knows, you may uncover a talent you never knew you had. This could open up a world of possibilities for you. Or, it could be a great day of playing and creating. That’s all up to you.
Write a self-hatred letter … and burn it
For some, it’s hard not to get introspective on Valentine’s day and take being single too far. There is a self-examination that focuses on the negative, and that’s just not healthy. However, if your heart and mind won’t stop with the “you know why you’re single,” then indulge them. Yup, let them have their say. Get out pen and paper and write it all down, All your deepest fears or self-deprecation. Write it all down. Keep writing until you have absolutely nothing left.
Then burn it.
Everything you write will not be valid. You’re seeing yourself through red-tinted glasses that mirror the day. So, you’re not being rational or realistic. Still, nothing stops the voices like letting them shout themselves out. You can hear them, but you don’t have to listen to them. Write it all down and then burn it because the reality is what you write is not worth the paper it’s printed on, so get rid of it.
Then go for a nice walk and see the world through your regular-tinted glasses.
Most of us think about volunteering only on the major holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or National Zipper day. But people are in need 24/7/365. Take some time and put the attention on someone else.
Deliver meals, read to kids, help someone with a ride to the doctor, or take them grocery shopping. Getting your attention off yourself puts the whole day in perspective. Help someone; that’s a form of love.
Just Have a Day
That’s ten, and I am sure if you look, you can find many more things to do or ways to spend the day. If all else fails, just have a day. Do your regular routine, get through it, and get home.
Whatever you do, don’t despair. You are loveable. You are a good person. You will not be alone forever unless you make that choice. Which isn’t a bad choice if that’s who you feel.
So, there you go, No Love. Be kind to yourself no matter what you do on the day, keep your mental health in mind, and don’t be afraid to treat yourself well. And never forget, tomorrow’s another day.