The Oberlin Review

People Should Treat Every Day Like It’s Valentine’s Day

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This year, I swore I wouldn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day. Not because I am anti-Valentine’s Day, or because Cupid skipped over me this year, but because I find myself wondering what the point of Valentine’s Day truly is. Prioritizing someone for a hot second, and then falling back into a monotonous cycle of pushing them aside until an anniversary comes around? Take it from me, a girl who was so fed up with this cycle in her own relationship that she chose Valentine’s Day of all days to end a relationship — which was rather convenient, as chocolate was half-off the next day.

I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day seemed so much more palatable as a small child, when it meant that you made cute individual Valentine’s Day cards for everyone in your class and taped a small piece of candy to it.

Those cute little Valentine’s grams disappeared as you got older, and the holiday became about a deep romantic love that you could only understand by watching movies like The Notebook — or any Nicholas Sparks movie, for that matter. Many of us have dreamt about being swept off our feet by true love — and if you haven’t, good for you, because you’ve saved yourself the disappointment of realizing your crush wasn’t standing below your window blasting “In Your Eyes.”

I dreamt about those grand romantic gestures as a kid, until my high school boyfriend asked me to senior prom with a dozen red roses and a bunch of lit candles spelling out “PROM?” under a starry night. All I felt was nausea, a repulsion toward the romantic cliché.

So, it’s not for me. I will not be the Julia Stiles to your Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You, nor the Julia Roberts to your Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. That’s not to say that you and your significant other can’t live out those romantic clichés on Valentine’s Day, but rather, consider living them out on any ordinary day of the year.

This year I’m throwing in the towel on Valentine’s Day, not because I’m the grinch of romantic clichés or because it reminds me of a terribly timed break up, but because I’d rather treat every day as if it were Valentine’s Day for the ones I love and care for.

I’m not saying you should boycott Valentine’s Day this year or for the rest of your life — just don’t do that. Don’t cancel your fancy dinner plans and blow out all of the lit candles on your shelves.

Instead, consider making grand gestures more often than maybe twice a year. After all, there are very few things in this world that promote love — whether that be loving yourself or loving others — so take Valentine’s Day as a model for how you should prioritize yourself, your family, friends, partners, and even strangers, for that matter.

If you chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, I hope that it was filled with the love that you deserve, but I also hope that you realize that every day is a chance to remind someone of how much you love and appreciate them.

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