Keep these 5 things in mind as you navigate the Valentine's season:
1. Celebrate the Solo Soul
Whether you’re single this year, quarantined, or just not into gimmicky, obligatory romance, it’s a good day to enjoy being alone. And the most wonderful part of being alone is that you get to decide how to spend your time, with no judgement or commentary. You get to decide if you want to be productive or indulgent, challenged or comforted, and there is no wrong answer.
You can choose to make the occasion ultra luxe, and super special just for you. You can clean your house in your underthings, blasting your favorite tunes until your space feels like your very own heaven. You can pick out a recipe and cook for yourself, or order from a nearby restaurant and take yourself for a stroll to pick it up. You can binge whatever tv shows you want, listen to the songs you like on repeat, bathe in flower petals, buy yourself chocolates. You might just be the best Valentine you’ve ever had!
Or, you can free yourself of whatever tiresome, unwritten societal obligations make you feel pressured to do anything on February 14th, and revel in that weightless feeling of shirking pointless expectations. Eat ramen. Don’t do your hair. Get some work done, or do some stuff that only matters to you. Don’t go out of your way to do anything special if you don’t feel like it! It’s just a Monday!
2. Focus On Friends
As Brooke Meredith said for Medium, "Our culture is wrong about romantic love being the pinnacle of all types of love." It’s not a new sentiment, but it’s a chorus gathering voices of late, even in entertainment media. In 2010, Parks and Recreation popularized Galentine’s Day, a celebration of platonic friend love, and before that, Grey’s Anatomy coined the term “my person” denoting a platonic soul-mate.
A recent article in the Atlantic challenges the presupposition that marriage is a more real or important type of relationship than friendship, and more and more people are openly choosing non-traditional partnerships, parenthood, and living situations.
This Valentine’s Day, love on your friends. Your friendships matter just as much as your romances. Your friends matter just as much as your partners. Those bonds deserve time, care, attention, and celebration. Your platonic soul-mates could use some romancing, too! There is nothing silly about putting the same amount of effort and energy into an evening with your best friend as you would put in for your partner. Love them shamelessly!
3. Defeat the Distance
Among the tribulations of love in the time of COVID is that old devil, distance. If your lover is afar, or separated by a quarantine bubble, fear not, friend. Take it just a bit beyond gazing at the same moon with these date night bond-boosters:
- Curate a playlist for your evening. You’ll hit play at the same time when you’re ready.
- Plan a menu together for dinner. Whether you order delivery or cook up the same recipe, sharing the same food is one way to feel closer.
4. Realize Romance
If you’re fortunate enough to have a partner within your Covid germ bubble, you’ve likely also experienced some new stressors as a couple in our strange pandemic world. All the more reason to refocus and reinvigorate that flame that binds you! You and your partner have been through the wringer this past year, and you definitely deserve a moment of respite, a moment of reflection, to be thankful for each other and all that you do for one another, to remind each other that you are both still choosing to be here in this together.
This is the day to remember that love is a verb, that we don’t love passively, but actively. We don’t just feel love, we do it. Even when we don’t feel it. So much of what we understand as “love” is hormonal and psychological that we often neglect the practical. Take advantage of this rather arbitrary occasion, and use it to love intentionally!
5. Purge and Purify
The day commemorating St. Valentine was set by the Catholic Church to overlap and replace the ancient Roman festival of purification, Februa, and the coinciding lewd and frisky Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility involving animal sacrifice, nudity, and flogging. A clothed-up, calmed-down iteration of Lupercalia is what was eventually commercialized into the Valentine’s Day we know now, but all that remains of Februa is the name of the month.
Let us remember that February is derived from Februum, meaning purification. And the dies Februatus, February 13th through the 15th, were time to purge and purify. The association of fire with the process of purification eventually tied Februa to the hearth goddess, Vesta, so it’s also a good day to care for your home and hearth.
Forget fertility, let alone love! Use this time to cleanse your spirit and your home of what does not please, edify, or uplift you. Maybe it’s a bad habit or a guilty indulgence you know you want to kick. Maybe it’s a person you need to cut ties with, or an actual, literal closet full of junk that it would feel really good to clear out. Whatever it is, do it by candlelight, and seal it with moonwater.
Oh, and also enjoy these free printable Valentine's cards!