Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 186 of 365: The Truth of Valentine's Day

The Oatmeal has a great comic about this: the annoying thing about Valentine's Day is not the rampant consumerism, or the pressure to have a date, or the reminder that you're not in a relationship. No, the annoying thing about Valentine's Day is the constant complaining about Valentine's Day.

The older I get, the more I understand that I am in control of how I view the world. I can let something bother me, or I can find ways to process the situation in a healthy and productive manner. I can view a holiday in the negative or I can view it in the positive. I can view Thanksgiving or Christmas negatively, focusing only on how things have shifted when I come home for the holidays ever since my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's, or I can focus on love and reunion and all the fun aspects of being back in my hometown, albeit for a short amount of time.

The same with Valentine's Day: I can focus on the fact that restaurants gauge their prices and every store is filled with headache-inducing glitter hearts and giant teddy bears (and if a snuggle maniac like myself finds something like giant teddy bears gaudy, they're @$&%ing gaudy). I can focus on how my Facebook is going to blow up with pictures of flowers and chocolates and equally-gaudy jewelry from Zales or Jared (can someone PLEASE explain to me the Pandora bracelet? I still don't get it. They remind me of the bead bracelets I'd make in Girl Scouts). Or I can focus on the idea that the day is a moment for reflection.

Eight Valentine's Days ago, I got stood up. I should've known I was going to get stood up, because the guy cancelled on me last minute for a previous date, but decided to "make it up" to me by taking me out on a nice Valentine's Day dinner. I remember being in the lobby of my dorm hall, texting him, angry as all hell, waiting around forever, only to have him reply back like we had made plans to grab a coffee before class and he didn't feel up to it after all. For me, that was the last straw: I had spent the first semester in an amazingly unhealthy pseudo-relationship, followed by a string of pretty terrible dating mishaps. I decided that I was going to focus on school and not on boys. Little did I know that I would meet the man who would become my husband four days later.

The last seven or so Valentine's Days have run the gamut. From being surprised with flowers as my last class got out to both of us forgetting Valentine's Day (and our anniversary) thanks to me being stressed as all getout from school and him being stressed as all getout from work. And I know it's easy to brush off Valentine's Day when you've been in a loving, committed relationship for nearly eight years, but the fact still remains: Valentine's Day is what you make of it.

This year, Valentine's Day falls on an off Friday for my husband. He mentioned yesterday how he hasn't made any plans yet and that he needed to get on it. I told him not to worry. As I joked, "As long as you're not spending all day playing video games, I'll be happy." I don't care if we go to a restaurant, or a rock-climbing gym, or just drive around New Hampshire all day. I don't care if we make a dinner and pop some popcorn and watch a movie. I'm just happy that I get all day to enjoy time with my husband (who, after 8 years, I'm still not sick of).

Valentine's Day is exactly what you make of it. Whether or you rename it Galentine's Day, or you take it as an opportunity to go out to the bar and find someone else who is looking for some fun for V-Day, or you do something fun (or nothing at all) with the person you're with. Valentine's Day is exactly what you make of it.

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