Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that brings either anticipation or dread, especially with the demarcation between those with a significant other and those without one being clearer on this day than on any other. Tomorrow, people will be wearing colors of shirts revealing their relationship status and will be doing all sorts of things to express their love. We just can’t avoid celebrating (or sulking about) the day of hearts. To be honest, I don’t have strong feelings towards Valentine’s Day (I neither love it nor hate it), but here are four things that I both like and dislike about it.
Like: The commercial-stories that consumer brands come up with. Everyone likes a good story, and the advertisements leading to February 14 often do not disappoint: tear-jerking, heartwarming, and moving; relatable, familiar, and at the same time, new; they’re stories that touch our hearts and remind us that we’re not alone in our experiences.
Dislike: You feel like you have to watch them all. One video leads you to the next, which leads you to another, then another, and then finally, you are left wondering where your hour went.
Like: Chocolate. Enough said.
Dislike: The guilt that comes after binge-eating the box(es) of chocolate (that I bought for myself). For this too, enough said.
Like: It’s a day celebrating what makes us most human: love. Everywhere, we’re reminded with pink and red hearts that on this specific day, we honor the giving of one’s heart.
Dislike: It’s a day when people celebrate what they think is love in a way that they think is love — but is it really love?
Like: Selling flowers, delivering chocolates, and other Valentine’s Day enterprises are a sure-fire way for students to raise funds for their orgs. On the buyer’s side, gifts and surprises are an easy way to make someone special feel appreciated and cared for.
Dislike: We tend to substitute making an effort with giving a gift. Nowadays, we are led to believe that the more expensive a gift, the more effort was placed into it, which is not always the case. Certainly, gifts purchased with one’s hard-earned money are valuable, whatever the price of the present was. But think about this: it’s so easy to give things but so difficult to give ourselves.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Whether we look forward to it or can’t wait for it to end, and whatever shirt color we’ll be wearing, we’ll be bombarded with signs of love. There will be couples in every restaurant, red and pink decorations in every corner, and maybe a heart on every sleeve. All the grandeur of Valentine’s Day may make us think that it is the pinnacle of love, but maybe it’s the consistency of the little things done everyday that make us believe in the sincerity of the big ones done occasionally. Small gestures that are often taken for granted — like giving your full attention to a loved one when you’re together, leaving notes of encouragement for a friend before an important exam or presentation, and even just asking a person how he or she is — are what solidify and maintain the love in a relationship. Flowers, chocolates, letters, and stuffed toys may be what many people are expecting to receive on Valentine’s Day, but maybe the best gift one can have is a heart that is given constantly, daily, and fully. Valentine’s Day is the day of love, though perhaps everyday is a day of love, too.