Valentine’s Day much like Christmas, is celebrated with a big bang in American culture and can be experienced with as much dismay, frustration and downright loneliness when you are a single person.
There are store windows dripping hearts, florists with red roses front and center, and food shops displaying chocolate in every possible manner.
For some people who are newly single or have been divorced for some time and are not in a romantic relationship they may see this holiday as nothing more than a marketing ploy by plump up sales in the post Christmas shopping season and decide to stay home and ignore the whole thing.
One of the origin stories of Valentine’s Day date back to the Romans and a sacred rite involving a sacrifice with the purpose of increasing fertility in the community.
For those single people who still long to become parents in a committed relationship, this holiday can be even more challenging. As someone said to me recently: ” I still want children but it’s not as if you’re going to discuss that when you first start dating someone new “. I encourage my clients to find out who the person is sitting across from them first and let them see the best parts of them before jumping to the topic of parenthood.
However, while most people would interpret fertility literally as the ability to become pregnant, I see it as a symbol for creativity. People who keep their creative juices flowing do so by finding and pursuing things and people who they find exciting. When I counsel newly single people I encourage them to find the activities about which they feel most passionate or excited and gather people they care about the most to celebrate the holiday. Whether that’s going to a poetry slam downtown or a science trivia game at the bar in Brooklyn, grab another pal or two and try something you know you love or go to a new environment completely. Decide to try a new type of yoga and write out your goals for next year’s Valentine’s Day. This might include looking into online dating sites that seem to jive with your style. A new one that is fun and innovative is called howaboutwe and allows people to put out ideas of what they’d like to do on a date that brings in cultural, culinary or athletic experiences into the mix.
Creativity is born when you do something that has not be done before in exactly the same way. So although Monet painted his beloved Water Lillies dozens of times, each painting was a new and beautiful investigation of the same subject. If I play Words with Friends or Charades again and again it is still a fun experience because the different people involved change the sense of play.
It’s this energy that will most likely attract someone to you because it’s the energy of growth. What I did one year is plan a pot-luck party for my girlfriends (didn’t cost a fortune because everyone contributed) on an evening around Valentine’s Day (didn’t interfere with those that did have partners/husbands) and asked them to dress up in a V-Day theme (made it like a Halloween party which got everyone anticipating the fun). I then asked a local dance teacher to teach us some belly dance moves (I had never tried this before) and asked a DJ friend to bring in some great dance music to play ( the dancing put everyone in a great mood).
So this Valentine’s Day, find 3 things you love to do and plan to do one or all of them in the days around Valentine’s Day with some good friends or check out new happenings around your community that would change up your usual routine and might even challenge you artistically (see a play, film, music group you wouldn’t ordinarily see), physically (do a hike, spin class, or dance class) or emotionally (start up a conversation with someone at your local coffee shop or bar). It will help you feel more alive, less lonely and more energized in your life.
Finally, giving thanks for what we do have in addition to helping those people that could use our help is always an important ingredient to feeling better. Have a Creative V-Day!