OPINION: I want to break up this Valentine’s Day

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What people really want for Valentine’s Day —more than all the expensive gifts — is to be seen and accepted as the unique, amazing souls they are. (Archive photo by Marcella Brooks | Collegian Media Group)

I want to break up this Valentine’s Day.

Is that heartless?

I don’t mean break up with my boyfriend — gosh no, he’s a cutie. Rather, I want to break up with the day itself. Or, should I say, season. It has become very clingy, and I’m tired of seeing it everywhere I go.

When did Valentine’s Day become a time for chocolate, flower and greeting-card companies to meet their annual quotas instead of a simple day for people to remember the parts of life that matter?

The National Retail Federation website, which has compiled data on Valentine’s Day spending for the last decade, says the average American is expected to spend over $160 this Valentine’s Day — a high number, but much less than the average $196 of last year.

When did this holiday start seeping over two months, instead of one day? It’s important to show the ones you love that you care all year round, but I don’t see any oversized, red bow-tied teddy bears in September holding cursive hearts and demanding “BE MINE!” No one wants that. Except, of course, the previously mentioned big companies looking for a profit. But they do that with every big holiday anyway.

It’s ludicrous to imagine a world where this gaudy commercial Valentine’s Day is every day, but somehow we as a culture agree to celebrate it extravagantly every year from Jan. 2 until Feb. 14.

We look forward to this holiday for a long time, but are we just using that feigned “hope” as escapism from the present struggles we face? It sure seems easier than facing our daily lives and overcoming our struggles to recognize the joy in them. It’s easy to say “I’ll be happy on the holidays,” knowing that a party or an adventure could distract us.

But happiness is a decision, and we need to make it every day. Single or not.

Instead of admitting that joy is a decision, we merely cushion this holiday season in sweets and soft things. We proceed on Feb. 15 longing for the next season leading up to a day.

But seeking mere things will only continue to disappoint. Don’t get me wrong — all these things are nice, but they are merely that: things. What people really want for Valentine’s Day — more than expensive gifts — is to be seen and accepted as the unique, amazing souls they are.

If you’re finding it hard this year to know your self-worth, or you’re concerned for someone else, it’s never too late to make an appointment with Kansas State Counseling Services. After all, it’s important to love yourself too. With up to eight free therapy sessions a semester, students don’t have to break the bank either.

We as a society should quit pressuring broke college students to spend tons of money on things for their loved ones to show how much they care. When did gifts switch from being surprising to being expected? How pretentious of us.

And society needs to quit pressuring stressed college singles into thinking a hook-up with someone else will make them happy. My dear readers, do not believe this.

If you aren’t looking for someone, or you just haven’t found the right person yet, don’t feel pressured to. I hope you are satisfied and content with yourself before adding someone else’s problems to your own.

Valentine’s Day has somehow shifted from a Catholic feast day celebrating the death of a saint to a season of feasting on sweets and ignoring the New Years’ resolutions made a month earlier.

I know we could all use a little self-care, this year especially. But we’re glorifying this season with commercialized traditions of buying things to represent how much couples love each other, pitying those who aren’t in a relationship.

Maybe it’s because my love language isn’t gifts, or because this is my first year not being single, but I’d like to think love can’t be bought. Being single doesn’t mean you’re alone. I’d love to break up with this saccharine holiday that makes lovers broke and singles feel like they’re somehow doing things wrong.

Lori Leiszler is the assistant culture editor of the Collegian and a junior in secondary education with an emphasis in English/journalism.The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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