By Florence Olajumoke Williams
It is the season of love again. Everywhere you look – malls, bus stops, stalls, offices, landmarks – it’s as if the god of red has gone mad, spreading scarlet all around in the wake of her insanity.. Everyone is preparing to start acting mushy; radio jingles are littered with the word valentine; every third ad sign has something about the day. Start a conversation and before you move past the first three sentences, the word is right there, locked in-between consonants, even when it is unnecessary. You roll your eyes for the umpteenth time, you think you should be used to this early February craze already, but the renewed commercialization of private feelings leaves you befuddled.
What is so special about this Valentine, sef? You ask yourself the same question you’ve always asked yourself every year, since your third year in secondary school when the “true significance” of the day first hit you. It looks like ages now; you’re older, your body has grown into that of a woman’s, you are now earning your own money and no longer living with your parents. But one thing you still have in common with your unassuming, cynical thirteen year old self – you are still bae-less, which translates to yet another Valentine’s Day with no valentine!
It would have been easy to go through the day like any other day but no! People will not let you be; throwing their mushiness and silly vows of love in your face. Or pestering you with, so how are you spending Valentine’s Day, as if they really cared.
So how do you go through the day without falling into a well of depression or having to make that awkward call to that your unfortunate ex, just to salvage the day? You’re just in time, buckle up!
Now, the fact that you’re single isn’t a malaise or something. You’re human and you’re in great company. Contrary to what the overall mood of the time might suggest, not everybody has a boo. Keep this in mind before you fall into a self-pity party. If you think deeply, you’d even find people around you – friends, colleagues, family members, even celebrities – who are also single this valentine. The first guide to having a fun Valentine’s Day single is jumping off the “I’m so miserable, I don’t have a special valentine” boat. It’s okay that you’re taking your time to reflect, grow and observe, before plunging into another romantic entanglement. You can use the euphoria of the Valentine spirit to consciously contemplate on your plans and expectations from romantic love, your ideal partner, your prospects and available options. You can also reflect on yourself, by reviewing your past relationships – where you need to grow, habits you need to drop or develop, and also self-awareness exercises.
Another way to make the day memorable is to give yourself a special treat. You could go see a movie. Okay, scratch that. Having to deal with effusive dole-eyed lovers might affect your mental well-being unless you are at a really comfortable place with your status. You can treat yourself to something you haven’t done all year, or something you’ve been putting down for a long time. Hanging out with friends (not coupled-up ones) is also a good therapy. You can plan activities to do with your friends; be silly, goofy and become teenagers once again.
Remember, life is for the living. Play your favourite music, laugh with reckless abandon, watch that movie that’s been lurking in your laptop since like forever; call those people with whom you haven’t talked to in a while, take that much needed hours of sleep, drive around with the windows down and the wind whipping at your hair; entertain yourself with social media, buy yourself gifts and most especially, who said Valentine’s Day has to be only with a lover? Your valentine could be any loved one!
Valentine’s Day is a festival of love and love effuses laughter, happiness, warmth, glow, and general positive vibes; so don’t ruin the moment by sulking and moping around. Create your ‘happy’ and never let anyone – not even yourself – take that from you, boo or no boo.