Ah yes. February 14th. Valentines Day. Its a day I kind of dread. While being single for the most part in my life is a massive plus (for my mental health, financially, and sanity), its the Day that mass media shames single people for the choices they have made. Right from mid to late January right until February 14th, they bombard messages faster than twenty intercontinental ballistic missiles raining down on Winnipeg on how you should celebrate it. Jewelers tell you to spend a small fortune on pieces of jewelry for your significant other. Wedding experts are telling you what lame romantic movies to watch. Floral companies are suggesting to go splurge on some lame roses to make you feel appreciated by your lover. Great make me feel even more jaded. Just great.
It’s these types of messages that make me, at times, and other folks in similar situations inferior. Seeing the images of couples on social media showing off where they went for the $150 dinner, the $500 ring the boyfriend/husband got for the girlfriend/wife and saying how much they love each other almost can make any single person’s head spin off their head.
I don’t deny the sincerity of what some couples do on this day, at the same time, all these visions of what love should seem often shallow, and fake. Commercialization at its best perhaps right along with Christmas time as devalued what this day is. Relationship expert Kat Robey in a 2018 interview said the marketing of Valentine’s Day, creating high expectations for people, is one reason why many people despise this Day.
Instead than being sucked into what mass media wants other single people and me this Day, I decided to flip the script and celebrate my own unconventional Valentine’s Day. Kind of my way of saying that classic line from the 1992 Rage Against The Machine song Killing in The Name of by telling mass media “***** you I won’t do what you tell me” on this day.
So how did I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let me tell you how many unique ways I spent this day that flew in the face of conventional wisdom.
For starters, one thing I did was I decided to purchase 12 Valentine’s Day cards before this day. With those cards, I decided to send messages of support and thanks to some of the non-profit organizations and charities I have supported. These types of organizations do the leg work to fight poverty, hunger, empower financially low-income citizens, protect our environment, and raise awareness on international development. I decided to write notes of encouragement to some non-profits. I wanted to celebrate my thanks to them for the work they do because its non-profits that do a lot of fantastic work to make a difference in our society, and quite frankly at times do not get the respect and love they should get. Most of the cards I had to send at least a week before February 14th to ensure it would get there by then.
Outside of sending cards, I celebrated the love fest by volunteering at Winnipeg Harvest in the morning and Siloam Mission in the afternoon. I helped out at Winnipeg Harvest in the Food sortation area. As I helped to sort food in the correct places, some special guests came by. Winnipeg Goldeyes staff and Goldie, the mascot, came by to show their love for Harvest by donating $2,500 to the organization’s work.
After spending about two or so hours at Harvest, I left for Siloam Mission to assist in serving lunch to its community members. I have only been volunteering at Siloam since Christmas 2019. In my short time volunteering there, I have had some very profound and touching moments at Siloam Mission. In January, I had a friendly conversation with a person during a Saturday night meal. As I was taking this person’s plate after dinner and I said thanks, this person said she was very appreciative of the volunteers at Siloam. I said, thanks. This person who has had a rough life said, “We are all survivors”, referring how those who walk through Siloam Mission and use their services are some of the most resourceful and battle-tested in the battle of life. That quote and that moment know will stick with me for the rest of my life. It’s those awe-inspiring moments that make you reflect what matters, and even in life’s just brutal times, things could be much worse. Those moments put things in perspective not only in my life but how in general, we really at times take for granted what we and how in an instant it can all be gone.
Before heading out to volunteer in the morning, I made three small donations to some charities that do some great work. While I am not the wealthiest person in the world (far from it), I do believe its important to share in whatever prosperity I have back to those organizations who do good work, and ensure we can be the best we can be as a society.
I do believe that volunteering and giving back to charity ranks up as one of the highest pinnacles you can reach as a person There is nothing like helping others become what they can, and increasing your self-worth. That’s something more than any box of chocolates, jewelry, or $100 bottle of wine from your significant other can achieve. After all, What says more about love than helping those less fortunate versus a bouquet of roses from your partner that you know you will toss away in the garbage bin two weeks later?
Finally, my unconventional day came to ahead by working and having the pleasure of dealing with some of the unique characters in the world. Just another day in the neighborhood of unrealism? I will leave it at that for a possible book idea. But the time spent at work with my co-workers as we sat around taking phone calls from these unique individuals with their complaints and
worked together to reach our daily goals.
Valentine’s day went well. I wanted to get something out of this day being a single person with no kids while not attempting to fall in into the trap of this day promoted by mainstream media. Through the unconventional Valentine’s Day acts of writing cards to non-profits, volunteering, and donating to charities, along with enjoying the company of co-workers listening to off the chart customer complaints, I felt a sense of self-love, respect, and understanding of myself. All three, which are often far short supply for everyone. For those who are in relationships, I find people usually try to please the other hard, and they will often fall severely short. I believe that if you are looking to find a love partner and get into a relationship, you need to have a look at yourself and love yourself first beforehand. Most relationship and self-help analysts would agree with this. It would help if you found joy first with yourself before even dare to attempt to find a partner. If you do that, I will guarantee you will be a much happier person.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
- James 1:2-4