I’ve heard many of my single friends over the year talk about the dreaded “Singles Awareness Day.” Otherwise known as Valentines Day. They laughed about it, but the undercurrent was real… I knew it hurt.
At the time I didn’t know what to say because in reality I couldn’t relate. It was always a fun day. A day to run away and be romantic day…
It’s true, you don’t know what you don’t know, and I didn’t know. At least not until my first “Singles Awareness Day” after Rob’s death.
Not only are you aware of the fact that you’re single, but everyone around you is joyous in his or her “in-loveness,” which exacerbates even more. I had been one of those. I loved finding cool ways to celebrate our love, whether that was planning a trip together, or just surprising Rob with gifts every hour on the hour for the number of years we had been together. I’m sure I made everyone sick. But never did I realize how alone I was making them feel.
Don’t get me wrong, you should share your love and excitement for that love with your sweetie and I would never want someone not too. It’s a gift and a blessing you should share and share openly, but I can see where a level of sensitivity would have been so valuable to my dearest friends who weren’t sharing in the Valentines Day festivities.
So what do we do on “Singles Awareness Day” when our loved ones aren’t with us (it could be a death, deployed, working the night shift, traveling, divorce, or whatever the case may be)? First of all, I think its important to be excited for those who do have love, because in reality we all want to be loved. Second, don’t be afraid to celebrate the hope of one day having a love to share the day with. I think it’s important to hang onto the dream and celebrate the fact that we can have love in our lives.
Perhaps we could shift the way we look at the day. It’s not only about the love a couple shares together, but so much more. It is about our ability to love and love many things. Our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, our siblings, our pets, and everyone else we share life with. We have lots of people around us who deserve to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t have to be in the stereotypical romantic way.
Seven ideas to make Valentine’s Day great (regardless of what you call it):
1. Serve someone – Deliver flowers to people you know would appreciate them and don’t have a special someone thinking about them that day.
2. Plan a “Singles Awareness” dinner party – Hang out with those amazing loved ones in your life who find themselves in the same situation. At least that way you can share commiseration stories. Ha!
3. Think about what you do have, not what you don’t have – Spend time in gratitude with yourself and others. Grab a pretty journal and fill the pages with everything from a friendly person in line at the store, to the love and support of your friends or family. Nothing is too small, the idea is to look for grace and good in your life.
4. Give yourself the gift you would want your sweetheart to give you – It’s not other people’s job to make you happy. You have to be happy because you choose to be happy and reward yourself accordingly. Send yourself flowers. Why not?! Chocolate too for that matter.
5. Plan a romantic night by yourself and love it – Light the candles, pour the bubble bath, turn the music down low, and drift into your own relaxation mode and love it. Another idea, light a fire, pour the sparkly, and read a book. Every moment can be a great moment if you set your expectations in order. If you plan on seeing what you don’t have you’re going to be miserable, so instead plan for a fun adventure and love it.
6. In the cases of a lost love (death) – Take a moment to acknowledge and own the reality of your loss and be sad that your loved one isn’t there. Celebrate the memories you had or shared. Toast a drink to them in their memory as if they are there and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Something I realized is that while it important to honor them, I don’t think we should stay locked in the past forever. Give yourself a time frame to be in that moment and then eventually know that you’ll need to add new patterns. Otherwise, the old ones will rule us, and we’ll never heal and move forward.
7. Know that you are not alone –You are not the only one celebrating this day no matter what you call it. Write your own rules and your own traditions and make it great.