How I Spent My Valentine's Day

Every year around February 14th, family members, well-meaning friends and so-called experts give advice on how to enjoy Valentine’s Day when you’re single. But to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t read or heard very many stories about women who actually spent Valentine’s Day by themselves and enjoyed it. So instead of using my experiences to formulate yet another article that advises and lectures single people on how to be single and fabulous (or at the very least, not annoying) on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to simply recount my Valentine’s celebration so that at the very least, even if it doesn’t give someone a treasure trove of ideas for next year, a few more singles will know that it IS possible to be your own valentine.

I should start by saying that I have never had a valentine. So being single on Valentine’s Day was far from virgin territory. What was new to me was the idea that a Valentine’s Day by myself didn’t need to be sad. Every year since I was old enough to really take note of the fact that other people had significant others on Valentine’s Day while I was very single,  Valentine’s Day had been an infuriating and depressing day. I had grown to hate the holiday and would inwardly groan when my calendar read February 14th. But last year, I decided that enough was enough. I’m not entirely sure how, and I’m not entirely sure why, but last year I decided that I was going to finally make an effort to not just enjoy being single on Valentine’s Day, but every day in general.

 

Because I had class most of Friday, I decided to turn Valentine’s Day into Valentine’s Day weekend so that I could do some of my celebrating on Saturday. The plans I had were pretty simple.  I was on a budget so I decided to go get an eyebrow wax (which wouldn’t have cost more than $10), pick up a couple of movies from the library and use a Cheesecake Factory giftcard that I had been given as a Christmas present to buy myself dinner and dessert. Friday morning after my eight AM work shift and before my noon class that lasts 3 hours, I bought myself a chocolate chai latte, a bagel and a chocolate croissant--I figured if I was going to be more positive on Valentine's Day, I should start the day on a positive note. Plus, is there ever really a wrong time for chocolate? I finished my first class at 3 and was fully prepared for my next class (that goes from three o’clock to five-thirty, yikes!) when I got the first of two pleasant surprises: the class had been canceled. I was free! Immediately after receiving that good news, I got a text from my mom. Completely out of the blue, she decided to give me money to go get a mani/pedi as a Valentine’s Day gift. Bolstered by the knowledge that I was free before five on a Friday and had the best mommy in the world, and by the extra energy from a chocolate heart that had been given to me by a professor, I skipped home to re-plan my Valentine’s Day weekend. Because I had a little extra money, I decided to treat myself to two days of takeout instead of one and got myself some Pad See Ew from Cozy Noodles. It was delish! Because the library was closed, I settled on finishing “The Parent Trap,” instead. I finished off my first day of what I dubbed my “Valentine’s Day Extravaganza,” by washing my hair and curling up into bed with my thai food, my movies and, probably most importantly, a smile.

 

My second day of my V-Day extravaganza began at 1 PM after my rehearsal. I stopped by the library and picked up two movies and a dvd of the first season of “Once Upon a Time,” boarded a bus to Old Orchard Mall and used my mom’s surprise gift to treat myself to a mani/pedi instead of an eyebrow wax at Technicolour Nails. It was much more affordable than going to Nail Bar, and the manicurist and the rest of the staff were all wonderful! I would definitely consider going back. Afterwards, I went to The Cheesecake Factory and ordered my favorite dish, Chicken Bellagio, and a slice of their Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake (what diet?). After I had gotten my food and browsed the mall for a while, I hopped on the 201 and headed home. After heating up my dinner and changing into my pajamas, I culminated my Valentine’s Day with “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” creamy pasta and chocolate cheesecake, freshly polished fingers and toes, and once again, a smile.

In life, there is theory and there is practice. In theory, attending a V-Day singles mixer should, at the very least,  let you know that you are not the only person who is single on this day of love. In theory, taking yourself out to dinner should cheer you up and keep you from sitting at home and wallowing in self-pity. But like I said, the advice, the top ten lists and the suggestions are all just theories. Very rarely, do we hear the story of the single ladies who put these theories into practice.  But that ended this weekend. This year’s Valentine’s Day was a huge learning experience for me, and even though I was by myself, it may go down in history as the best Valentine’s Day ever. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t shed one single tear or spend the entire day (and night) irrationally angry. I’ve learned that it really is true what they say about your happiness being up to you. I had always thought of Valentine’s day as a holiday that I had to suffer through. The minute I decided to make an active effort to enjoy the day, rather than see it as a yearly nuisance, it became less painful and more fun. I also learned that when you have the right attitude, nothing can bring you down, and when all else fails, you can always count on a few sweet surprises to make the day special.