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Rather than wal­lowing in self-pity, enjoy the time you have alone and use Valentine’s Day to be by yourself and relax. I Wiki­media Commons

Six years ago, my parents went on a trip, leaving me home alone during Valentine’s Day weekend.

 And the greatest tra­dition of my young life was born.

On Feb. 14, I came home to an empty house on a cold, dark night. I was used to a loud house with a lot of people around, so I felt lonely as I rum­maged through the kitchen for my solitary dinner. But then, I saw a coupon on the refrig­erator for a Valentine’s Day special at the local pizza joint. 

Sud­denly, I realized that being alone in an empty house, even on Valentine’s Day, was pos­sibly the greatest thing that had hap­pened to me. I didn’t have to worry about anyone watching me so I ordered a pizza, put on some girly boxers, and cranked up “Hips Don’t Lie.” 

When the pizza came, I didn’t even bother using a plate. Instead, I ate all eight slices straight out of the box while I watched “Leap Year.” I wasn’t wal­lowing in lone­liness or throwing a pity party. I simply enjoyed being com­pletely alone and unself­con­sciously unwinding after a long day of high­school drama.  

Every year since that 2014 Valentine’s Day, I have repeated the tra­dition, and next to Thanks­giving and Christmas, it’s the high­light of my year. 

And as life has gotten busier, having a spe­cific time set apart to be alone and enjoy myself has become increas­ingly important to my sanity, espe­cially in the midst of dreary, cold Feb­ruary. 

If you’re single, it’s easy to wallow on Valentine’s Day and wish you had someone to take you out to a nice dinner. But enjoy the time you have alone and use Valentine’s Day to be by yourself and relax. Besides, there are real emo­tional and health ben­efits to having alone time. It can relieve anxiety and stress, increase empathy, spark cre­ativity, and increase pro­duc­tivity, according to a Forbes study. 

But spending Valentine’s Day alone shouldn’t just be for single people. While spending time with your sig­nif­icant other is obvi­ously important, Valentine’s Day is just a com­mercial holiday, and couples shouldn’t feel pressure to spend money on romantic ges­tures. Buy your lover flowers and chocolate any other day of the year, when the prices aren’t jacked up for the so-called holiday.

His­tor­i­cally, Valentine’s Day orig­i­nated from the Roman fes­tival of Luper­calia, which was held in mid-Feb­ruary as a cel­e­bration of the coming of spring and fer­tility. Pope Gelasius I later san­i­tized and Chris­tianized the holiday by tying it to the legends of St. Valentine. 

But today, Valentine’s Day has no real meaning or sub­stance besides that which Hallmark, the choco­latiers, and the lin­gerie com­panies give it. It’s a con­sumer, com­mercial day for buying over­priced things that the market has deemed romantic for your love interest. 

Instead of giving into the com­mer­cialism or wal­lowing in self-pity because you have no one to buy you things, just revel in being alone. 

 

Abby Liebing is a senior studying history. She is the asso­ciate editor for The Col­legian.