By Bridget Walsh
Welcome back. I hope everyone enjoyed their well-deserved winter break and managed to relax. This semester has really kicked into gear, papers are due, tests are being taken, and the weather has been confusing again. One can only imagine what to expect in the remainder of the month.
February is a month filled with excitement and notable holidays. The whole month celebrates Black History in the United States, Punxsutawney Phil determines if we have six more weeks of winter or if spring is just around the corner, and President’s Day celebrates two of our country’s most important presidents’ birthdays. And, obviously, Feb. 14 is when we celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Growing up, Valentine’s Day was one of the most entertaining days in school. Everyone wore their red shirts, the girls wore red ribbons or bows, and the classrooms and hallways were lined with red and pink decorations. As a kid, the most stress endured on this day was whether to buy cute puppy valentines or the ones with the lollipops for your class. Ultimately you chose the lollipops because the cool kids always gave out candy.
Now that we are older and in the “dating scene,” Valentine’s Day tends to get a negative connotation. If you happen to be in a relationship, this day turns into a stressful time to shower your loved one with gifts and make that perfect reservation at a fancy restaurant. If you are single, the media depicts a sad lonely night alone in bed, curled up with a personal box of chocolates or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Either way, this generation has found a way to make Valentine’s Day almost mirror what we saw in the movies and on television when we were younger.
My friends and I started a tradition two years ago to contradict these societal norms. Those of us that did not have set plans for dinner on that day would all plan a dinner, whether it be pizza at one of our houses or a plan to go to Olive Garden where we end up at a local diner because the wait time was too long. We didn’t worry about whether we needed a date or not to be happy on Valentine’s Day because we were surrounded by the people we love.
This story was not to renounce the holiday and expose the negative aspects of a holiday that I, in fact, thoroughly enjoy. It highlights the true importance of Valentine’s Day, especially in this world where there are so many negatives and so much hate. February 14 is a day to spend with the person, or in my case, the people you love and cherish the most. It is a time that is set aside each year to dedicate to the people you choose to surround yourself with every day where you can tell them how much you appreciate having them in your life.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, take a moment to look around and share your appreciation and love to not only your loved ones but your friends as well. If it helps, you can even go out and still get those cheesy paper Valentine’s cards at your local CVS or grocery store, complete with candy or cute puppies, and hand them out to your friends to tie in the nostalgia of the holiday.