On Valentine’s Day

I know, Valentine’s Day is over. And if we’re honest, I’m not sure that there is much to say you haven’t heard:

  • True, it is a holiday that allows all those sappy love birds to wear their heart on their sleeves (but really, the type of people who do this on Valentine’s Day are probably just as likely to do this on any other day too. They love love, and they are in love, and they see it as something to celebrate. Can’t hate them for that).
  • Yes, it can have the backwards effect of highlighting all the people in the world who–whether they love love or not–simply are not IN love on this one specific day. (Whoops, sorry guys, no celebrating for you this year.)
  • And ultimately, it was turned commercial in America by an alumnae of my very own alma-mater, Ms. Esther Howland.

In my own world, it doesn’t mean so much. It’s just a day that has turned into an excuse to try to wear red in as inconspicuous a way as possible…a challenge I give myself each year, but never even relay to other people. Some examples: I wear a normal outfit but the socks under my boots have red stars, or I go to work in a suit but wear a necklace my dad gave me once with a ruby-red garnet in it. Each year, my sister and I exchange cards or thoughts and one time a stuffed bear, and it always makes me smile. But she’s really the only one on my list. Basically, Valentine’s Day is no big deal.

Then this year, all that changed. I wouldn’t be a girl if I didn’t admit that we all go through crushes. And maybe we build them up each year in the weeks leading up to this random day just out of curiosity for what might happen. 2013 was no different, except that when I woke up that morning, I decided to put it all away. All the mess, complication and crush. Just focus on me. Enjoy my day. I spent the morning in lectures, the afternoon transcribing interviews and the evening debating ideal toppings for froyo with amazing new friends in London. And I was happy.

Frozen Yogurt joy.

Frozen Yogurt joy.

Somewhere between oreos and chocolate sprinkles, I checked my phone and found an email from one of my closest friends at home. Addressed to our close-knit group of college friends, she told us about how growing up she’d always learned that Valentine’s Day was a day to celebrate all the people you love — platonic and romantic. It was a day to remind yourself of those you value, and to recognize the friendships that become unbreakable. The email was short, but more than sweet. It actually brought a (literal) tear to my eye. (Which, yes, is probably the first time anyone has every cried over frozen yogurt. Seriously, what is there to cry about when you involve yogurt, chocolate and fruit?)

So forget all those categories of people I listed out at the beginning of this post. I am a believer in Valentine’s Day, and I have certainly never been alone on any 14th of February. I have amazing friends and family across the world and not even the Atlantic Ocean can break or change the power of a good friend.

1307, if you’re reading this post, thank you for reminding me about everything important and true. And even though I probably owe you a phone call, I think you’re great.

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