Valentine’s Day can be awkward when you’re single. On a day when the world seems to stop and focus on hearts, flowers, romance, and pairing off couples, you might be tempted to wallow in self pity. Before you make plans to spend the evening locked in your bedroom burning pictures of old boyfriends, though, consider these ideas for positive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a single person this year.
1. Fall in love with something new.
There’s no time like the present to embrace a brand new adventure. Make this Valentine’s Day the day you learn to love something new. Is there some new challenge you have been interested in that you can take on today? Learn to skydive, take a dance class, join a photography club, or sign up for a white water rafting trip. It doesn’t matter what it is. Find some new skill to learn that will challenge and excite you.
2. Reach out to others.
Others find Valentine’s Day uncomfortable too. At an office where I worked as a single woman many years ago, the receptionist was an older woman named Hazel who had been widowed for many years. The thought of her loneliness on Valentine’s Day prompted me to buy her a fancy card and write a kind note as a surprise. When she received the card in her mail pile, she was moved to tears. She told me it was the first Valentine she had received in over 20 years. We hugged and cried a little and then shared a cup of tea. Instead of wallowing in my own feelings of discomfort, I felt the joy of reaching out and meeting another’s need. Who do you know like Hazel in your life? What gestures of kindness can you plan for them and make yourself feel like a million bucks in the process?
3. Indulge a little.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and romance. No one says you can’t love and romance yourself a little, especially on a day that might highlight your own feelings of loneliness or loss.
If you love flowers, don’t wait around for Mr. Right to show up with them, buy some yourself! Decorate your home or workplace with beautiful blooms. If you enjoy chocolate or wine, take advantage of some of the sales that are abundant this time of year and buy a special treat to enjoy at the end of a long day. Or pick up a few luxury bath items to pamper yourself with an at-home “spa” of your own making. Whatever it is that you enjoy, this is the day to indulge in it—just enough to remind yourself that, single or not, you are a beautiful creature made in God’s own image and you were made to love and be loved.
4. Take a road trip.
Distract yourself from Valentine’s Day hype with new surroundings. Make plans to visit that friend or relative you never see anymore because they live three states away. Think of a place you’ve always wanted to visit (The Met? The San Diego Zoo? Niagra Falls? Mount Rushmore?) and make plans to get there for a day or two. Or plan a Valentine’s weekend getaway to the city, beach, mountains, or anywhere that will refresh your senses and restore your soul. Bring a friend along for extra fun, or bring only your journal if you crave some peace and quiet.
5. Gather with friends.
You are not the only one feeling a little left out today. Call up some single friends and make plans to celebrate together. Gather the girls for a chick-flick marathon at your place or invite friends to shop for ingredients and then make dinner together at your house. Children also make great Valentine’s Day companions. Be the “cool” aunt, uncle, or friend by hosting a kid-friendly party at your place or take them out for a night of bowling and root beer. Kids’ fun-loving, carefree joy is infectious. You will find yourself laughing and making Valentine’s memories right along with them.
Whatever your plans as a single person on Valentine’s Day, the most important thing to remember is that in the end, this is only a day, a mostly secular holiday fed mostly by consumerism and hype. While it’s a beautiful thing to recognize and celebrate love, if any “holiday” makes you feel sad, lonely, and out of place, you are not the problem, the day is.
You are God’s beloved daughter or son and he has great plans for you. While you wait for Him to show those plans to you, reclaim this day as an opportunity to love others and be loved in return, to find joy in connecting with loved ones and sharing the gift of yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day!