Every year we see varied reactions toward this oft-loved oft-hated holiday and we see varied reactions to these reaction. There’s often a mixture of excitement and resentment among those in relationships and those single, respectively. Because of this, I often start hearing discussions of what the potential merits or shortcomings of this season may be.
Coming from the position of a single guy, I end up revisiting my position each year and discussing it with people in similar situations. I’ve heard positions as graceful as “I use the holiday to celebrate my friends’ relationships and to remind myself of what I have to hope for.” And I’ve heard positions as embittered as “This is the dumbest holiday ever conceived.”
This year I’ve taken on a new position that I think is a healthy middle ground. As I continue to mature in coming years, my feelings about this season will likely change but this is where I am this year.
Rule 1. Don’t resent another person’s happiness. It’s not their fault that I haven’t found what they’ve found. And their happiness doesn’t somehow make me more single than I already am. Even if I feel bad, I should understand that that’s not someone else’s fault.
Rule 2. I don’t have to feel happy for others. I’m my own person with my own experiences and feelings. If some of those experiences and feelings are of disappointment, other people should respect that. I don’t stop being me just because someone else is happy and I can only pretend to be happy for others for so long when I haven’t experienced what they’re happy about.
Rule 3. Focus on the good. Rather than ruminating over the shallow commerciality of the holiday, remember what genuine love is. That may or may not be romantic. Let real love have the last word.
Rule 4. Wonder how Muslims refugees in North America feel during Christmas or Easter.
Rule 5. Try to ignore it. It’ll be over before you realize and then everyone will start stocking shamrocks for St. Patrick’s. Many of us struggle with finding fulfillment in our singleness but the sun rises the next day and there are still many things in life to be happy about. Take a brisk walk. Drink some tea. Watch a TV show you like. Remember you are more than your romantic prospects.
Love is beautiful and worth celebrating but there are 364 other days of the year for celebrating everything else that’s good in the world. We single people can bite the bullet and find lots to be happy about on February 15th.
And if nothing else, we’ve all got each other.