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Being Single On Valentine's Day
A Little Backstory...
Valentine's Day, February 14th, the Feast of St. Valentine. We all know the holiday, but what do we know about the history, and about St Valentine himself? Not a lot, as it turns out, at least not much for certain. We know he probably died around 270 A.D., but outside of that, the details get a bit sketchy. The Roman Catholic church actually recognizes no less than three saints named Valentine (or some variation thereof), all of whom were martyred. One legend states that Roman Emperor Claudius II ordered Valentine put to death for continuing to perform marriages after he had ordered all marriages stop, since single men - he believed - fought better in war than did men with wives and families.
Another legend states that Valentine was killed for helping Christians to escape the brutality and torture or Roman prisons. Yet another legend - probably the most romantic of them all - claims that Valentine was jailed for refusing to convert to Roman paganism. While in jail, he allegedly fell in love with his jailor's blind daughter. After healing her sight, he wrote her a letter - the first Valentine's card - before he was put to death. Whatever the truth, there has clearly been an association of tragedy and sadness with love, even back then.
Now, Valentine's Day is a holiday to celebrate the special someone in your life, usually through the gifting of candy, jewelry and flowers. But what if you don't have a special someone? What to do if - like many others - you find yourself alone on this most romantic of holidays?
These thoughts occurred to me as I walked alone through the quiet, early-evening streets of my little midwestern town. The sun had set and traffic was tapering off as businesses closed their doors for the day. I liked to walk in the evening, my usual route taking me through the newly-dedicated Central Park just west of the town square, then back to the square itself, past the courthouse, surrounded by trees, bare for the winter and strung with twinkling white lights from the holidays. Local shops, with their windows brightly lit and decorated for each passing season offering distractions as I walk by.
Music drifted down from the speakers mounted to the ornate streetlights that dotted the sidewalk. I drew my coat up tightly across my chest to protect me from the chill February air. Passing by a small restaurant in the center of town, I glanced through the windows at the couples sitting at the tables inside. Smiling, talking, some holding hands. It was then that I suddenly became conscious of how alone I was and I wondered, how should a single person a celebrate this holiday? Should he celebrate it at all?
Glasgow Love Theme from "Love Actually"
It's fairly easy if you're in love. Some flowers, a card, maybe a nice dinner out at a cozy restaurant. But what about the single people out there? What about us? Should those who find themselves in-between loves just sit this one out?
Sure, you could just go home, sit there alone be sad, but why? Isn't life sad and lonely enough already?
Why not love yourself? (No - not like that, you sicko). Embrace your singleness! Celebrate your freedom and independence! Look, being in love is wonderful sure, but sometimes the timing just doesn't work out. Why should you let a little thing like that hold you back? If you find yourself alone on Valentine's Day, celebrate it anyway! Go out, spend time with your other single friends (you might even meet someone while you're out). Or stay in and watch a favorite movie, or sit on the couch, read a book and appreciate all the money you didn't have to spend on gifts. (Some people even break up deliberately just before V-Day to avoid having to buy presents. These people are called "cheapskates" but that is a story for another time.) Maybe even buy yourself something nice. Don't you deserve it?
And don't forget - somewhere out there, there is most likely a special someone who is waiting and wondering how long it'll be until they meet the person of their dreams - and that person, my friend, just could be you!
© 2012 Daniel Petreikis