Ah, Valentine's Day! Offices everywhere are inundated with a flood of floral arrangements, balloons and fuzzy, stuffed animals. Singles everywhere are looking on forlornly as their attached co-workers, friends and frenemies (gasp!) Are hauling in the Valentine loot by the truckloads. Yes, we're stifling tears of loneliness as they ...
Wait! Hold up! Let's rewind this article that's starting to read like I plagiarized it from one of those '80s-era romantic comedies that usually ends with a marriage proposal. This article ain't it! After all, Feb. 14 is just a day. It's not even a day we get to be off work. That means all your office buddies who got flower arrangements that required a dedicated moving van and three muscle-bound men to transport them are going to have to tackle the logistics of getting those behemoths home without soaking the passenger seats of their cars if they have to slam on the brakes. I've been there, trying to drive and keep a water-filled vase from toppling over. It was such a miserable experience that I imposed a "no flowers delivered to work" policy.
If you're single this Valentine's Day, you probably haven't bought into the hype. Still, Valentine's Day can be trying for the more sentimental singles out there. You're alone in a world (seemingly) full of (seemingly) happy couples. So, how will you get through the day without battling the nausea induced by sweetness overload? Here are some ideas to help you navigate the melodrama and cross the threshold to Feb. 15 unscathed.
• Aim that cupid's bow at the mirror. Be smitten with yourself first. Take an inventory of all the great qualities you possess, and give yourself some affirmation.
• Do something nice just for you. Book the facial. Sign up for that class you've wanted to take. Get those shoes you've been drooling over for three months, but never acted on because they're not practical. Who cares today? Not you!
• Give a valentine to someone who's important to you. Send them a message letting them know they're appreciated and thought of. Valentine's Day is a day to express your affection and regard. Romantic involvement doesn't have to be a requirement.
• Kill frenemies with kindness. No matter how content we are, we are all eventually going to run into those people. You know who they are. They're the people who only call you when (a) they want you to do something for them or (b) they want to remind you how awesome their lives are and what a loser you are in comparison. Remember, bragging and one-upmanship often mask deeper insecurities. Don't get sucked in when a frenemy calls to say: "My husband is soooo thoughtful! He bought me a Mercedes convertible for Valentine's Day and booked us a trip to Tahiti! So ... what did you get?" Tell her how happy you are for her and mean it. Envy is a destructive emotion that has no legitimate place in our lives. Envy adds nothing to our lives and robs us of the ability to appreciate our own shining moments.
• Make a date with friends. Go check out that restaurant you've been dying to try. Have dinner with some company you enjoy.
• If painting the town pink doesn't appeal to you, stay in and read that novel you haven't had the chance to dive into. Let a good box of truffles keep you company. You can resume that exercise program tomorrow. The gym and the yoga mat will stay right where you left them.
• Avoid the "Why are all my friends happily attached/married while I'm still single/divorced" trap. Making judgments about yourself in relation to your peers is a losing proposition for you. If you look around, you can always find someone who appears to have everything you want for yourself. Making comparisons is never a good idea, because we're all different. In spite of what Hollywood attempts to assert, there is no perfect life. There is no ideal experience or perfect relationship. And we shouldn't strive to fit any mold other than the one we fashion for ourselves. If that means you're single at this time in your life, accept it and embrace the potential singlehood holds for you in this present moment.
• Got kids? Embrace your inner child. Take your kids on an outing to the zoo, a museum, a skating rink. Don't just stand on the sidelines and watch. Participate with them and have fun.
With a little imagination, Valentine's Day can be truly painless for the unattached. It's just a day with a title and some commercial appeal. So make it your day. Chocolates get eaten (if they're good). Flowers wilt and dry out. The memories we make in our lives are what last.