Valentine’s Day sucks. It really does. The societal expectation of spending lots of money on someone looms so closely behind that you can feel them stepping on your heels and breathing warm, moist capitalistic breaths down the back of your neck like the overbearing monster it is.
You shouldn’t have to spend lots of money on someone for them to appreciate you. And conversely nor should you expect the same of them. Shame on the world we live in for making us all think and feel this way. It is extremely easy, though, to make someone feel special without emptying your bank account.
There is something to be said for the days of kindergarden classrooms where everyone brought enough cards and cherry red lollipops for each other, placing them in designated cubbies enameled in laminated name tags for each and every rugrat. Almost like Christmas you knew you were going to get stacks of things to tear open, and of course tons of holiday themed candy. It gave you a sense of belonging, and maybe almost a sense community (probably a stretch for kindergardeners). But it may have also helped form a dependency- not just a longing for love and attention, but an expectation of it.
Which brings me to today. Nowadays it is unbelievably easy to get what you want. Whether it’s shopping, eating, traveling, and most certainly dating, you can ‘have it your way.’ Just as a defunct or regrettable purchase can be easily returned, a date can be easily replaced. Buyers’ remorse doesn’t just exist in mega malls or your Amazon shopping cart anymore. Now, if you’ve had a bad experience or just want something different all you have to do is swipe left.
Without even knowing it many of us expect gifts, or expect attention, and that’s a problem. For those emotional hipsters out there chomping at the bit to prove me wrong and cry out ‘I don’t need anyone, their attention, or their money to be happy,’ good for you. I admire and approve of your personal fortitude. But lot’s of other young people are not so lucky. Especially those born and bread into the Tinder and Instagram generation. They are only accustomed to instant gratification, and anything less is simply unacceptable. No one ever told them good things take time.
After all, time is really our only resource of any actual value. So don’t spend money on someone you care about, spend time. Those are the best experiences out there- the ones shared in a completely undivided, undisturbed embrace of time and focus. Distractions permeate so much of our interactions it almost goes completely unnoticed. Technology has come such a far way and is so smoothly integrated in our day to day activities that we almost look to it for solace more than we look to each other. That’s not okay.
This Valentine’s Day, find someone you care about. It can be a friend or a lover, and they can be new or old. Share your time together and do something emotionally invigorating. Try not to exhibit symptoms of serial daters. Do something different. The most unusual Valentine’s Day date is an original one.