Celebrating Valentine’s Day When You’re Lonely

Valentine’s Day has always been my favorite holiday. Even when I was a little kid and the only person giving me a gift was my mom.

Yet there was one year I suddenly found myself single just before Valentine’s Day. For the first time, I felt sad about being left out of my favorite holiday.

I felt like all my friends were either in relationships or engaged, and I was worried that seeing their significant others give them gifts and spoil them would send me over the edge. I was afraid Valentine’s Day would be ruined by my feelings of loneliness and fresh sadness over losing someone I cared about.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that this holiday was meant for me just as much as it was for couples.

I remember thinking, “Who says I have to be miserable just because I’m single? Couples aren’t the only ones with a monopoly on Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to enjoy myself!” And that’s exactly what I did. My best friend, who was dating her now husband, and I decided to celebrate Galentine’s Day.

I baked cupcakes and we each bought each other a small gift. That night we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, ate sushi, drank wine, and reminisced and talked about everything under the sun. We had a blast, and I knew that this was going to be an annual tradition for years to come.

Sure, the idea started as a way for me to take my mind off of a breakup. But it reminded me there is so much love to be celebrated other than romantic love. My happiness was not dependent on me being taken. Because I had so many other people in my life to be thankful for.

My best friend and I decided that no matter what our relationship status, we would make sure to carve out a night each year dedicated solely to us—no guys allowed. We kept to that promise. Ever since then I have continued to celebrate Galentine’s Day, whether I’ve been single or not. This year my fiancé and I are going out to a nice dinner and then a concert. But my best friend and I are also making time for our annual festivities.

Sure, our lives are very different now. She’s married and I’m preparing for my own wedding, but we both realize the importance of carving out time for our friendship even in the middle of our crazy schedules. Because there is something beautiful to me about a holiday simply dedicated to love, no matter who that love is between.

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