By: Michelle Peterson
As a child, I thought being a Valentine’s baby was the best thing ever. As far as I could tell, February 14th was the greatest day of the year to have a birthday. A shoebox full of love notes from all my classmates? And free candy? And birthday presents, too? Yes, that was basically my childhood dream-come-true.
Of course, then I hit adulthood. Eventually, Valentine’s Day came to represent something entirely different. After experiencing Valentine’s Day as a single adult, I soon realized that Valentine’s Day is tough on singles - regardless of whether or not you’re a Valentine’s baby.
Here’s a little secret though: February 14th doesn’t have to be a terrible day just because you’re single. It’s possible to survive Valentine’s Day without a significant other at your side. Here’s a “Single on Valentine’s Day” Survival Guide…
Valentine’s Survival Tip #1... Treat Yo’Self!
If you’re a fan of the show Parks and Rec, you already know that the characters Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle were onto something with their slogan “treat yo’self.” The idea of treating yourself to your heart’s desires simply because you deserve it, applies to any day of the year - not just Valentine’s Day.
Of course, if you do find yourself single on February 14th, consider it the perfect day of the year to take Tom’s and Donna’s advice. Make “treat yo’self” your Valentine’s Day anthem. Treat yourself to a date at your favorite restaurant. Treat yourself to a relaxing massage. Treat yourself by spending the extra money for the special hot stone massage with aromatherapy (because you love the soothing smell of lavender oil). Afterwards, treat yourself to the finest dark chocolate candy bear that your local chocolate shoppe has to offer. Treat yo’self. Because you deserve it.
Valentine’s Survival Tip #2… Find the Other Singles
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a miserable day, spent moping around the house all alone while your friends celebrate their perfect love with their perfect soulmates. Think of Valentine’s Day as the perfect opportunity to meet other singles who, like yourself, are looking for love. As Dating coach Harris O’Malley points out, Valentine’s Day “is a holiday designed to make you feel like the loneliest [person] on the planet. I promise you: you’re not. There are many, many people sitting around on Valentine’s Day, feeling exactly the same way you do.” Adding to the optimism, Facebook data shows that over 70% of “Facebook official” couples list Valentine’s Day as their official first date, and it remains the highest overall day for people to enter a new relationship.
Valentine’s Survival Tip #3… Don’t Take It Too Seriously
Contrary to what the greeting card stores will tell you, Valentine’s Day as we know it today was created to sell factory-made cards during the industrial revolution of the 19th century. By 1913, Hallmark had jumped on board... and it worked! Valentine’s Day has skyrocketed to become the 2nd most popular card-sending holiday, topped only by Christmas. What the cards don’t tell you, however, is that Valentine’s Day has dark origins and even the stories about Saint Valentine being martyred were probably fabricated. So next time you start feeling down for being single on Valentine’s Day? Remind yourself that it is really just another day of the year.
Spending Valentine’s Day as a single adult doesn’t mean you have to endure a day of bitterness, resentment and misery. With some creativity, determination and positive attitude, you can reframe Valentine’s Day to be a celebration. Don’t take it too seriously. Instead, just use it as an excuse to treat yourself to the finer things in life. Celebrate self care and remember to love yourself. You deserve it, today and everyday.
Guest Columnist Michelle Peterson has been in recovery for several years. Her mission is aligned with that of RecoveryPride, which is to celebrate sobriety and those who achieve it.