Valentine’s Day is a holiday pretty much designed to make at least half of the adult population of the United States feel grumpy. There is not a holiday that I have essentially said “Bah Humbug!” to more. I was single for a good long chunk before I was married and each v-day seemed to come around on a particularly non-dating patch in my life. I’ve had anti Valentine’s parties where everyone was supposed to wear black, I’ve had “fuck it! No one else is gonna buy me flowers and dinner!” nights where I bought myself flowers that I wanted (hint: it is so not roses. As part of the horticulture industry I know all too well how these flowers are handled up to the big day and why they seem to last all of 15 minutes after you get them. But that’s an entire other blog post…) and had a romantic dinner alone. I’ve completely ignored the day acting as though it didn’t exist at all and have had a few where the other person and I sort of half-assed it with a card or something and candles at dinner.
However, last year I ended-up spending Valentine’s day in Finland with Malin. I really felt badly about taking her away from her (then) boyfriend on this big romantic holiday until she explained something to me. In Finland, Valentine’s Day is about friendship not romantic love-dovey crap. I wanted to move to Finland right then and there. Finally a country that gets it! And gets it RIGHT! I mean, isn’t friendship the basis of love? If you are in a romantic relationship with someone, shouldn’t they be a friend first and foremost? And if there is one thing that I have learned in the past year is that friends are so very important in our lives. In some ways, much more important than the romantic relationships that we enter into. Having friends that have your back no matter what is so much more important than having someone to date. I wish that I had understood this when I was in my 20’s. It would have made my life a lot easier.
So this year and from now on out, I am declaring this. Valentine’s Day, for me, is going to be all about celebrating the friendships in my life. Fuck the candy. Compost the roses. Give Mr T the jewelry. Drink the champagne with your friends and let them all know just how much they mean to you.*
So Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate the Finnish way, which might also involve some vodka…
*I’m not going to diss cards because A.) I love greeting cards with a passion that borders on the insane and B.) there are lots of non-romantic Valentine’s Day cards available and they may be a really good way to tell your friend that you love and appreciate them. In a friend way, of course. Unless you love-love them, in which case you need to just sack-up and tell them to their face, ok? That would be an inappropriate use of greeting card technology. Even if you use one of the recordable greeting cards.