You glance at the calendar. “Ugh,” you think. “It’s coming. Valentine’s Day.”
“How could time pass so quickly?” you wonder. “Didn’t I just survive Thanksgiving? Christmas? New Year’s Eve? And without Billy Crystal to come running a few minutes before midnight, no less.”
January was a blur. “Thankfully,” you jest. But now you remind yourself, “The worst is yet to come.”
None of this has to be the case. Even if you are divorced, whether recently or for decades and are presently uncoupled, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to spell Ben & Jerry’s and sappy rom coms. That’s because Valentine’s Day isn’t only about romance.
Valentine’s Day, named after the Christian martyr, Valentine (of which there were many), dates back to the 5th century and is rooted in the ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia. The holiday didn’t become associated with romantic love, however, until the 14th century with the popularization of courting. Not until the 18th century did Valentine’s Day traditions such as gifting flowers, candy, and cards emerge.
Today, Valentine’s Day traditions have expanded to include gifts apart from the traditional flowers, candy, and cards of the past, and we direct such gestures at anyone for whom we feel affection, not only a love interest. That means Valentine’s Day belongs to us all.
So if you are struggling with ideas about how to commemorate the holiday, here are a few to get you started. Remember, there is no right way to celebrate. Doing what makes you feel good and keeps you comfortable is always the right answer.
- Spend time with your kids. When it comes to our children, love abounds. Whether yours are small like my Sofia, or are adults, expressing how much our children mean to us is always a source of joy, and the best gift we can give to them is our time. If you still want to give a meaningful gift but the commercialism of the holiday doesn’t inspire you, tap into your creative side. Gifts from kids are always the most memorable, so consider turning the tables to create a gift for your children that they can enjoy for years to come such as a photo collage for their bedroom or play area, a handwritten note, or a photo blanket to keep them warm at night.
- Celebrate with your friends. Don’t forget about your friends, especially the ones who supported you during your divorce. Or the new friends you have made since you became single, independent, and fabulous. There’s no reason why you cannot enjoy that restaurant you’ve been waiting to try or go to that movie you’ve been dying to see. Chances are you have a friend or three who are up for a girls’ night out. Invite them.
- Indulge yourself. Don’t want company on Valentine’s Day? That’s allowed, too, and perfectly fine. Be your very own Valentine. Light candles, run a bath, get the bubbles. Snuggle up with a favorite book, magazines, and a glass of wine. Relax. Sleep in. Buy yourself a gift. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good. You deserve to be well cared for and pampered. Who says you can’t be the one to do the pampering?
- Do nothing. Guess what? There’s no law saying you must celebrate Valentine’s Day. Not since the last time I checked, anyway. If you find Valentine’s Day painful, corny, commercial, or plain old irritating, ignore it. Abracadabra, Valentine’s Day is gone. Poof! Go about your business as you would on any other day of the year.
However you choose to spend Valentine’s Day, as long as you are taking your needs into consideration, you are spending the time wisely. Like the song, “Another Tricky Day” by The Who tells us, “You can’t always get it/When you really want it,” so start living your life now – Valentine’s Day, any day, every day, and, especially, today.