Valentine’s Day - Only as Awful as You Make It
Kyle Florence - COMMENTARY
kflor654@uwsp.edu

This past week, I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine about this upcoming Valentine’s Day. Having recently trudged through a very precarious break-up, his out­look was bleak, to say the least.

He claimed that the actual mean­ing of the holiday had been lost in a blizzard of heart-shaped candies and cheesy Hallmark catchphrases. Instead of celebrating the one you love most, this day had become an obligation—a day that card compa­nies across the country could hang their hats on. But most notably, this day now served as a cruel reminder to all those flying solo that they will inevitably die cold and alone (that was satire, before you all go throwing yourself from cliffs).

I won’t lie. In many ways, I agreed with him. True enough, it does seem silly that we dedicate a single day out of the year to our “special someone”—if they’re really that special, shouldn’t we be shower­ing them with affection 365 days a year? And yes, I, too, will be spend­ing Valentine’s Day alone this year. I will admit, it’s a bummer knowing that my romantic evening will likely be spent with the cast of “How I Met Your Mother” and pounds of string cheese.

Still, as disheartening as these realizations were, this conversation with my buddy really stuck with me, as it brought with it a sense of enlightenment.

I have a secret for you, my friend—a secret that will change your life for the better as soon as you are willing to accept it as fact. What is it? Life’s a bitch, and then you die. It sounds harsh, but as we all will eventually realize, it is undeniably true. Life comes with no guarantees, no time-outs and no second chances.

Taking this into account, one real­izes that Valentine’s Day, like any other day, is going to be an irrefutable piece of crap unless you consciously choose to make it otherwise. That is to say, you are responsible for your own happiness. Not your mom, not your ex, not that Ryan Gosling look-alike that sits in the back of your English class—only you. Honestly, how do you expect to feel when you’re ears-deep in a cocktail of melted ice cream and your own tears (again, satire)?

My point is, who cares if you’re alone on Valentine’s Day? After all, you were alone yesterday, and likely the day before that, and look, you’re still here! Ultimately, happiness is all about perspective, and no one ever bettered their situation by focusing on the negatives.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are spending it with the love of your life, a group of friends, or all by your lonesome, find some solace that you are on your feet, breathing and able to experience this holiday to some capacity. I know too many good people who no longer have that option.