February 14th. Valentine’s Day. A day that means different things to different people. Of all the major holidays it is the one that by far provokes the largest range of responses. For some, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to let out one’s inner romantic. It’s a day when you can really let yourself dive into the tide of love sweeping all around you and let your heart run free. It could be the perfect opportunity to tell that special someone that you’ve had your eye on that you’re interested in them.
On the other end of the spectrum is the pessimist. Someone who sees through what they perceive to be a highly commercialized and overhyped holiday. These people can often get angry at not only at the day, but also at the people who embrace it. Worst of all, some use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to be miserable. The most important thing to know about this divisive day, however, is that Valentine’s Day is going to be exactly what you make it. No more, no less. So with that in mind here are some general ideas and bits of advice about what you can do to make this February 14 in Amherst a truly enjoyable one.
The first and most important thing to do is to spend the day with someone special. If you’re in a relationship this advice seems fairly obvious, but beware, even the closest of couples can have a great day derailed if something unexpected comes up or an assignment is due. Plan ahead. As a team, try to get everything done ahead of time so that you can devote an entire day to spending time together.
If you’re single, however, this advice takes on a whole new meaning. Like I said, Valentine’s Day is what you make it. The idea of the day is to spend time with someone you care about, so do that. Find friends that are really important to you and spend the day with them. It doesn’t matter if there are no romantic feelings involved. What’s important is that you’re spending the day with people close to you.
My second tip for Valentine’s Day is to do something special. This clearly means different things to different people, but keep some specifics in mind. Anyone can buy roses and chocolate. Anyone. That isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with roses and chocolate; they’re actually quite romantic, but they aren’t something that conveys how unique your time together has been. Think about things that you share with your loved one. If you can remember a specific place in which you had fun or a thing that you bonded over, consider how you could work that into your plans. Maybe go take a walk in the bird sanctuary, after all it’s supposed to be a relatively balmy 45 degrees on that day. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, but that doesn’t mean that it requires no effort. The worst thing you can do is appear lazy. Nothing kills romance more than looking like you’re just going through the motions on a day devoted entirely to love.
My last bit of advice is this: Go all out. Too often we hold ourselves back, especially when it comes to something as emotionally sensitive as relationships. We all have different ways of expressing our feelings, but on Valentine’s Day we owe it to the people around us to actually show them how we feel. There are 365 days in a year — 366 this year — to be low-key. February 14th is the exception. It’s the one day where you can truly go all out and tell people how you feel. That’s the romance of the day. Even if you’re not in a relationship, Valentine’s Day should be used as a way to convey your feelings, romantic in nature or not.
The most important piece of advice for Valentine’s Day, however, is the same as the most important piece of advice for hitchhiking the galaxy: “Don’t Panic.” There’s no reason to let yourself get worked up about Valentine’s Day. The day is meant to be enjoyed. Chocolates and hearts can add to it or not, but the truth is that a successful Valentine’s day isn’t measured by how grand of a gesture you made, but how good of a time you and the people you share it with have. So go out to dinner, take a walk, buy a rose and most importantly make someone feel special. You never know how important it is to make someone feel special until you actually do it. And in truth, that’s what Valentine’s day is all about: making people feel special.