This Valentine’s Day, I am fortunate because I have four dates, instead of only one.
I get to hang out with my yearbook friends, many of which who are (surprisingly) single.
I get to have a night with photography, and I’ll be enjoying it with my photo team. And it’ll be extra special for me, because those who come put photography and their respects to their time commitments above Valentine’s activities.
I’ll get to do math. If not because of my problem sets due that day, then because of my own problems that I’m still working out.
And finally, if all else fails, I can still have intimate moments with tornadoes that blow harder than anything you can imagine.
These four things — friends, photography, math, and tornadoes — are integral parts of my life. Add a significant other, and that would be a fifth. I would as much enjoy the presence of my dates today as I would enjoy them on any other day, including Valentine’s Day. It’s what’s weird about that day. There’s nothing inherently special about February 14th. And it shouldn’t take an arbitrary tradition for a loving couple to meet up, celebrate each other, and have dinner together.
Yet, I would argue that February 14th is one of the most special holidays of the year.
Now holidays are interesting concepts. Sure, we think of holidays as celebrations, but in their cores, holidays are sacrifices. Holidays are days where, for 1/365th of our lifetime, we stop our daily routine, our society’s movement, and our country’s running backbone to pause and reflect. We stop on December 25th to remember Jesus’ life, lived for our flawed humanity. We stop on November 11th to remember our Veterans, who fought for our country. We stop on January 21st to remember Martin Luther King, who fought for equality in our country. We stop on January 1st, because we made it. We stop to remember and remind us those things and those people who mean so much. So we give in return — we give our time. 1/365 of it.
This coming Thursday, we won’t stop altogether, but we will still pause, and we will still allocate time. And although many of us will pause for that significant other, for the rest of us, it’s about something greater. The commercialization of Valentine’s Day has made us believe it was about romance, or buying gifts, or about big red hearts, but in its core, Valentine’s Day is the celebration of the human being’s most necessary and fundamental need, that tonic which enriches us, gives us comfort in tribulation, and empowers us to act. After all, what allowed MLK to rise, Jesus to bow, or our veterans to stand? It was their love for what they believed in. That same love you give to your parents, or your siblings, or me to my math and tornadoes, or you to your significant other. That is the truth of the love we pause for on Valentine’s Day. So to all my fellow singles: let that be what Valentine’s Day is about.