I recently had a conversation with my happily-married niece. It kind of went like this:

Me: What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Her: Nothing. It’s a stupid holiday.
Me: Why do you think it’s stupid?
Her: Because we don’t need a date on the calendar telling us to be sweet to each other.

Good talk.

A client also brought up the subject of Valentine’s Day. She is cohabitating with her husband while going through the process of divorce mediation. In a private conversation, she asked me what she was supposed to do — ignore the holiday entirely? Buy her husband a generic card? Disappear?

This whole subject got me thinking.  What about single people? Does the barrage of February marketing make those of us without partners feel isolated? Rejected? Abnormal?  Unappealing?  How about those of us who’ve lost our partners?  I have personal experience, unfortunately, with being a widow on Valentine’s Day.  Very sad.

And let’s not forget about men.  The pressure to do the right thing, make the right gesture, buy the right card, the right present.  If you don’t, you’re a jerk.  Although I’m not a man, it sure seems like a losing proposition.

Do we have the option to boycott Valentine’s Day?  I’m going out on a limb here, and suggest the following 10 things we can do instead of celebrating this pressure-filled, Madison Avenue, Hallmark holiday, regardless of whether we’re in a relationship or are single.

  1.  Get a massage
  2.  Eat Pringles and drink champagne (or vodka, or beer, or Diet Coke)
  3.  Stay in your pajamas all day and read
  4.  Take a long walk (or hike, or bike ride, or drive)
  5.  Volunteer at a nearby animal shelter or assisted living facility
  6.  Go out with your friends
  7. Call your mom (or your dad, or your aunt, or your cousin)
  8. Binge watch anything your heart desires
  9. Bake cookies
  10.  Take a yoga class (or a spin class, or a kick-boxing class)

The thing is, if you wait for February 14th to roll around in order to show your love for someone else, you’re doing it wrong.  Why not try showing it on all the other days of the year?  And if there isn’t a special someone in your life right now, don’t push it.  Now is not the time to join Tinder or Match.  You’ll look needy and desperate, and we all know you’re not.  So for now, don’t sweat it.  Lavish all that unspent love and affection on someone who deserves it the most.  No, not your dog.  YOURSELF!

But maybe save a little energy for the dog park.  It’ll do you both some good.