I didn’t really know what to expect on Valentine’s Day. I don’t really let myself think about love, but it’s kind of hard to ignore the never-ending stream of social media posts, chocolate advertisements, and people talking about their special plans. It annoyed me that couples that never seemed to care before chose this one day to be all lovey dovey everywhere. Shouldn’t this love, affection, and appreciation be shown everyday? If I’m being honest, I don’t even know what love is. My idea of love used to be wrapped up in fairytales. Prince Charming was real, and he would come find me some day. Not to be pessimistic, but in all my 19 years, I’ve found that to be simply untrue. Sometimes, I recall my past self and am simply astonished at the lens I now look at love with: a hopeless romantic turned into a staunch realist. It’s interesting to see how some of my adolescent counterparts have found “the one”, and I just feel like I’m trying to get by in life.
Now, post-rant, my special Valentine’s Day plan was to spend time with my friends. It was great that we were all pretty much single–there were no limits to the havoc we could wreak. I even went to the gym earlier in the day so I could carb-load with minimal consequences later. However, as the night went on, drama unfolded. We were all pretty much single, correct? Doesn’t mean we didn’t have boy problems. How typical. The night ended with one of us in tears, another one of us spent from all the ranting, and one of us completely and totally disillusioned by love. Guess which one of the three I was? If you guessed the third one, you would be right. I love my friends, and I love my family. I know that–but what is love?
I spent most of my day thinking about this, before anything even happened. To me, love was always a deep sense of care and commitment for another individual. In a college culture where hook-ups are the norm and chivalry is dead, however, love just seemed like another word that was being thrown around. It began to feel more like a burden than something that could give me happiness and joy. However, I realized something later into the night: there are more kinds of love than romantic love. This is something that I’ve always known, but I definitely had a newfound appreciation for it after Valentine’s Day had ended. My friends and family have shown me the unconditional love and support that I’ve never been able to find with a significant other.
Even though it’s easy to feel disoriented by the idea of love, you shouldn’t. It’s hard not to compare your own ideals and lack of experience with love with others. It helps to realize, though, that romantic love is not the only kind of love. Take Valentine’s Day to bask in the glory of all the other kinds of love that you’re surrounded by. If you weren’t able to this year, there’s always next year and more. Oh, and don’t forget to watch all those sappy movies and eat mountains of chocolate. It’s worth it.