Go your own way

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It’s that time of year again – time to get out the booze, pour a glass, and sit alone in the dark watching Star Trek.

That’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day. For people like me, who are inexplicably single despite avid interest in the fictional adventures of the Starship Enterprise, Valentine’s Day can be rough. In fact, during a bout of social anguish a few months ago, I started a countdown on my phone for Feb. 14, dubbing it “The Most Miserable Day of the Year.” Of course, this was rather melodramatic on my part, but it illustrates perfectly how some single people feel about Valentine’s Day.

It doesn’t help that stores, television, and Facebook statuses all loudly declare that love is the best and everyone in love is in a state of constant chocolate-fuelled euphoria. Love is hyped up so much that for a lot of single people, love is the cure for any ailment they might have. There’s a huge misconception perpetuated by Valentine’s Day that love is all champagne and roses when it is really a lot of work. Of course love looks appealing when all the downsides of it are masked with red streamers, plastic cupids, and candy.

Being single in this environment is extremely alienating. It’s like everyone is getting ready for a party that you weren’t invited to. You feel like there is something wrong with you because you don’t have someone to celebrate with. On top of feeling like you are defective, you get to see how everyone else is in love and fully functional. It’s really hard to deal with for a lot of people.

I am not saying that Valentine’s Day needs to be cancelled. Love is not a bad thing, and couples can celebrate as they wish. What I want to convey is not that Valentine’s Day is bad, but that being single is not bad.

It’s a chance to learn who you are, form an identity, and become a more self-aware person. Some couples that have been together for years don’t have an identity outside each other, and if they ever broke up, it would be devastating. Not only would they lose someone they cared about, they would lose their own identity. The common phrase “I’m nothing without you”, used to express how deeply someone loves their significant other, is frankly disturbing. It’s not healthy to have an identity based solely on someone else.

Being single isn’t so bad. It can be lonely, but someone who knows how to be comfortably alone is getting rarer in this increasingly connected world. You get to make your own rules, do what you want when you want, and not worry about maintaining a relationship. You don’t have to worry about whether someone else’s parents like you, you can save money you would have spent on gifts, and you can watch a lot of TV. Maybe someday you’ll be on a quiz show about pop culture and that night you spent watching reruns of Big Bang Theory instead of going out for supper will pay off when you win a million dollars.

The worst thing you can do is getting hung up on your single status. Desperation is not attractive, so becoming confident in yourself and who you are alone might be the best thing you can do when looking for someone to date. My best advice is don’t write any newspaper articles about how lonely you are and how you can’t even get a date for Valentine’s Day. 

It’s a rough time of the year for singles. But it’s always fun to go to a fancy restaurant on Valentine’s Day, sit alone and act as if you are being stood up. In fact, maybe I’ll do that Feb. 14 and watch Star Trek the next day instead.

Edward Dodd
Contributor

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