Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day is commercialized, important

Tomorrow brings Valentine's Day, and whether you love it or "hate" it, it's going to be impossible to ignore. I am sure I will see plenty of Facebook statuses with hearts and smiles, and a tenfold more of grumbling, cranky updates. Whoever you are, and whatever your stance is on the holiday, I'm sure you've heard the argument about how Valentine's Day is just a "commercialized holiday made up so jewelry stores, candy shops, and florists can make more money." True? Probably... but that does not mean we should be so quick to write it off.

According to National Geographic, people in the United States were predicted to spend $14.1 billion dollars on Valentine's Day in 2010. So I cannot argue that it is commercialized. However, I will argue that while corporate American seems to be making a great buck off of our personal affection for others, this holiday is important.

It seems only normal to say, "Well if you're in love with a person, everyday should be like Valentine's Day." To that I would reply, "What planet are you living on?"

Anyone who has had any type of serious relationship knows that loving someone is not about making every day feel like Valentine's Day. In fact, some days are spent wondering why you even fall in love in the first place. Relationships are challenging, and when a couple is going through a rough time, sometimes is can be hard to find the "magic" that brought them together in the first place.

Even if a couple is not going through a rough patch, the common hustle and bustle of everyday life can take it's toll. From a college perspective, there's exams, classes, homework, clubs, roommates, etc. Not to mention losing the magic through text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (Read Jourdan Cole's Don't give your heart away on social media) Personally, I have a 180-mile gap between my love, and that's a huge challenge on its own. At the end of the day, connecting with another person may seem like the last thing on your mind.

So in my opinion, Valentine's Day is doing us a favor. It's giving us a free day to shout our love, spend time together, and remember why we're here in the first place. It doesn't mean you have to spend $300 on a necklace for your girlfriend, or even $15 on chocolate. In fact, Dan and I decided to skip the presents this year due to money restraints. Still, send your girl/guy a homemade card, write them a note explaining why you love them. Even if you "aren't good at that kind of stuff", try to make yourself be. If you are really struggling, Hallmark makes great cards you can get for $4. I know every card I've received from Dan was carefully selected, so even if you didn't make it yourself, it still can help you express how you feel about the other person. It's important that you keep the love there.

Sometimes, if me and Dan have an argument, I make myself write 5 things down that I love about him. Anyone who has been in a fight with their other half knows that in times like this it's hard to find anything you love about the person. But trust me, it really puts things in perspective. It may be hard, but it makes you remember why the challenges are important. Valentine's Day can make you remember that, too.

So why not bite the bullet and give into V-Day? Everyone remembers how exciting it was to get valentines in elementary school -- why wouldn't you want that same excitement with your other half? Like I said, you don't need to put a dent in your bank account just to remind your girlfriend or boyfriend why you're here. But, if you are starting to forget yourself, than this  day gives you a great opportunity to spend some time together and remember.