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There are days when I wake up and I think, wouldn’t it be nice to not be single, find a guy, fall in love, marry, and settle down (or as will probably happen in the arranged marriage scenario…marry, fall in love, and settle down)?
Yet most days, I wake up and think that a world where I didn’t have to deal with the Y chromosome in that way isn’t an entirely bad alternative either. Unfortunately that’s not an option.
Every year, Valentine’s Day isn’t so much a dagger to my heart as it is a splinter in my side. Valentine’s Day…bah humbug. Here’s how I see it (at least from my albeit biased perspective).
I wasn’t really raised to look forward to Valentine’s Day. I guess that’s the price of living in a family that is geared towards arranged marriage. So I never found the holiday particularly exciting for a long time. Valentine’s Day, for the longest time, was something I celebrated in elementary school, where we would exchange cards because the teacher told us to do so. It was probably when I got to college that I started to take notice of the holiday.
Yet seeing the stores now with all the pink and red, the streamers, the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and the sappy cards makes me want to retch a little. Everyone who has a significant other is just dripping with diabetes-inducing, sugary sweetness in every syllable of conversation and every action, especially those in the early stages of a relationship. Even those who have been dating or married for years will take that day, if not that whole week, and inject it with as much romance (perceived or valid) that they can muster. For those who are single, there is always a sense of gloom that descends during Valentine’s Day, and the days leading up to it.
Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July, is another holiday gone rogue and commercialized. Everyone, in their celebration of the holiday, tries to live up to the idea of Valentine’s Day, not so much the idea of their own, unique romance with their significant other.
That being said, allow me one sappy, possibly cliché moment when I say that everyday should be Valentine’s Day for couples. If two people in a relationship need a holiday to remind them to be loving and romantic…I’m not sure what to say to them.
I will (grudgingly) admit that this could be partly a case of sour grapes. I have been single for every Valentine’s Day for my whole life. However, I will also admit that the holiday itself has gotten so incredibly commercialized to the point of tears. Do we really need to buy special Valentine’s Day, brand-name things to feel some sense of purpose? I don’t think so. Do we absolutely need to buy the other person something expensive or take them out to the best restaurants or romantic spots to celebrate? It would be nice, but I’d be just as happy at home. There seems to be so much pressure on both people in a relationship to do something amazing on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t need to be that way.
But this year (as in recent years) I won’t be sad during Valentine’s Day. I will be celebrating Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.). Sure I want a relationship, but being single is much more fun. Really, I swear it’s true. Keep in mind, being single for me means (for the most part) keeping the marriage proposals away, at least for the time being. Can’t exactly dive into a dating scene that is still ambiguous, vague, and sometimes a little taboo by Indian standards.
Being in a relationship, at least in the early stages, means having to be with that person all the time. I don’t mean that you’re forced into spending every waking moment with them, it just ends up that way. Blame a combination of neurotransmitters and hormones that produce good, old-fashioned infatuation. In some (slightly unhealthy) scenarios, relationships can overwhelm your life and supplant other things like studying, other relationships (family and friends), and work in terms of importance.
Yet being single means keeping your options wide open, being unfettered, and being able to keep all your other relationships intact. What this translates to is a) having a license to be flirty (to be used as much or as little as needed), b) having more time to bitch about how it sucks to be single to all your friends while not-so-secretly enjoying your independence. You don’t have to include your significant other in all of your activities, or cloister yourself away with only him or her. You can just do what you need to do, see who you need to see, and not answer to anyone.
Sometimes when someone is in a relationship, they forget how to exist on their own two feet. As a couple, you become a unit. Person A becomes inextricably linked with person B, to the point that sometimes they’re treated as one and the same. Independence is important, and sometimes it’s something that you have to relearn when you are single. You can’t form healthy relationships without some sense of self apart from your significant other. We do crave relationships and forming bonds with other people, but ultimately we have to know how to live and think independently.
Being single, most importantly, also means having time to do soul-searching, to figure out what exactly you want out of a relationship. I think that a lot of people (myself included) shortchange ourselves this little luxury while we, instead, moan about how we’re single. If we don’t really know what we want out of a relationship, can we ever have a successful one?
So yes, I do want to have my Valentine’s Day one day. I want it to be thoughtful and I want it to be romantic, but I don’t want it limited to one frigid day in February. Until I can find someone who can be like that every day of the year, I will fill my days with my other relationships with my family and my friends. I will allow myself to grow and mature as a person. I will be single, and I will be happy.
Happy S.A.D.! :p
This is from another blogger, a very clever idea! My own Valentine’s Day/S.A.D. post will be up February 9th.