As I tried to conjure up ideas for this week’s Valentine’s Day column, I was perfectly stumped. I rocked back and forth in my desk chair, typing and deleting. I wanted to write about something upbeat and joyful in the relationship realm, but I felt plainly uninspired. I don’t consider myself to be a Valentine’s Scrooge by any means; my life right now simply does not involve love. From a relationship, that is.
Valentine’s Day is a circumstantial holiday where singles feel excluded from the joy that surrounds candle-lit dinners, outrageous romantic gestures and gigantic teddy bears (where would you even put something of that size?). To me, being single is far better than questioning my sanity as I wait for the call, the gift, the text or the love that never comes. We cannot exactly control whether we are in relationships around this time of year, so why should that mean we cannot choose to enjoy it?
The truth is, my life is still bursting with an incredible abundance of love in all its forms. It’s all around me. There is a tenderness in the way my best friends help me apply fake lashes. There is affection in the way we cover our bathroom counter with the contents of our makeup bags before a night out. It’s my mother’s power of consoling me out of an inconsolable cry. It’s when my friends fill me in on what’s happening in the movie when I return from the bathroom.
It’s Tammy from Dunkin’ finding a way to make my day each time she takes my order. It’s an Earth Wind & Fire song blasting from my headphones on my walk to class. It’s the sandwich shop on the main street of my hometown that has perfected my order since I was little, never once forgetting the slice of dill on the side. It’s grabbing coffee with my boss, who also happens to be one of my closest friends, and the fact that despite our 15-year age difference, we can still gab about boys like we’re in high school together. I wouldn’t call myself single. While I am without a relationship, I know I am never without love.
There is not just one kind of love from one person that solves our entire lives once we find it. The start of a budding relationship can make our lives seem exhilarating and colorful, but refrain from confusing that thrill with feeling like your life is complete. While forming a strong connection with someone who understands you is an amazing and special thing, any suggestion that a relationship is the “missing piece” that brings purpose into our lives would be a blatant misconception. I feel as though society could greatly benefit from discarding that falsehood, freeing ourselves from the constraints of finding “The One” and realizing that we can find love and joy anywhere if we choose to open our hearts to it.
Now that my life is decentralized around finding “The One,” I have the ability to look around and realize that none of that really matters once I can seek out all of the places love exists. Contrary to popular belief, there is love in humanity, too. Don’t believe me? Think of the last time a door was held for you by a person you have never seen before in your life. Even further, think of the last time you returned the favor.
The good news is: I can’t always predict what my romantic situation may be this time of year, but I can predict that I will immediately resort to my nearest Target on a mission to admire every heart-shaped item in sight, regardless of my relationship status. (Chocolate truffles are not reserved only for people in relationships, either. Personally, I prefer a good dark chocolate Lindor.)