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At almost 20, I can openly say that I have spent one Valentine’s Day actually in a relationship, but somehow, all my best memories of February 14th stem from the time spent with my close friends. I am a hopeless romantic for sure (as a Pisces it’s in my blood) but I think this societal understanding of celebrating a “Galentine’s Day” instead is really the reason why I love the holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to actually have a romantic relationship to celebrate on that day because I’m a total sucker for all the cheesy dates and treasures that are associated with the holiday: written love notes, flower bouquets and chocolates. It’s taken a few February 14ths for me to really realize that this holiday is meant to celebrate the people you love, not just those you are in love with, and for me this is celebrating how much I love my best friends but more importantly, myself.

I have for sure experienced a few of my own relationships — and situationships — being both the heartbreaker and the one who was heartbroken. However, as a happy, single almost 20-year-old, breakup songs always humble me to understand that in the end, I do not have it the absolute worst. Being a Taylor Swift stan I could associate any crush I’ve had in my life to a specific song, album, or even era of hers. For me, this is my safe space of learning from my mistakes and working on my “what I want in a boyfriend” mental note. I think that it is so important to self-reflect on past relationships and compile these notes of what you loved about the person versus what you hope for in the next because it will eventually help you narrow your search down to someone amazing — which for me I haven’t found yet, but that is okay, and I know it will come when I’m not searching for it.

I feel like so many people I surround myself with have boyfriends and girlfriends. For me, it’s been difficult to come to terms with the fact that I actually am very happy with who I am and the fact that I am single. A big piece of this confidence stems from the time I spend with my close friends. Relationships are key for development, and as an early education major, this is something that has been reiterated to me since I started college. However, when forming relationships there shouldn’t be an expectation that these relationships have to be romantic. Rather the most influential relationships are those made with friends and family. In my own life, the relationships I have made with my closest friends have been some of the most heartfelt, meaningful relationships I have ever had. This is why celebrating a holiday like Valentine’s Day with the people I love makes it more special than any Tinder date or setup that could come up. It’s most important, however, to establish a positive relationship and love for yourself. This is by far the hardest relationship to withstand, but in my eyes it’s most crucial in the development of your best self because in the end, you are you and that is something that no romantic validation will ever be able to satisfy. 

In Taylor Swift’s song Daylight, she says, “I wanna be defined by the things that I love, not the things I hate, not the things I’m afraid of, because I believe you are what you love,” and to me this is the epitome of the meaning of Valentine’s Day. The message is that this holiday is meant for celebrating the things and people you love and it’s not solely meant to celebrate the people you are in LOVE with. It’s so important that as this day approaches, we all take a moment to reflect on the relationships we have built and strengthened with others, and prioritize these individuals (and yourself) on a day celebrating love for all, not just our crushes or wallowing in self pity for not having one true and romantic “valentine.” 

**Edited by: Sadie DeAmbrose

Hi! I'm Emma Accardi and I'm a sophomore studying early childhood education minoring in special education. I love all things fashion, food and feminism but most importantly am a big Swiftie and Harry Styles stan!
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