From kindergarten to 5th grade, Valentine’s Day was about love — a love of candy, that is. Which classmate brought the best goods? Whose mom was making the whole class go on a diet and only sent her son with mints? Seriously, Justin, Pokémon cards again?
These were the questions that filled my mind and the minds of my fellow elementary friends come Valentine’s Day. It didn’t even matter if you weren’t “best friends forever” with the kid who brought the coolest candy, they had to provide enough Valentine Day treats for the whole class — it was school policy. So, take that Tiffany! Stop rolling your eyes and put the Oreos in my shoebox decorated like a tacky valentine mailbox.
In middle school, my idea of Valentine’s Day changed from potential sugar coma to “Best Friend Amy’s Birthdayyyy!!” Soon after meeting my best friend, I found out that her birthday was on the most romantic holiday of the year. No big deal; according to my dad, I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 35. So, in the meantime, I figured Valentine’s Day could be Best Friend’s Birthday instead. And for the next seven years, it was — until Amy went away to college.
Last year, I found myself working on Valentine’s Day, as many broke college students do. I was Amy-less, candy-less and date-less. It was then that I began to realize that Valentine’s Day isn’t about gifts, dates or parties.
Despite what Hallmark Stores and Victoria’s Secret may say, this holiday is meant to remind the people in our lives that we love them, whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, grandparent, best friend or mortal enemy — yes you, Tiffany.
If you’re blessed to have a love interest in your life, or if you’re single and your best friend is miles away, don’t forget to tell those special people in your life that you love and appreciate them. Send grandma some flowers, check in with that friend from high school that you lost touch with, make up with that person who hurt your feelings. Whatever you do, share some love and watch it be returned to you.