You can stop bashing Valentine’s Day—here’s why it doesn’t suck

As of last night, I had zero intentions of writing a Valentine’s Day post.

It’s not like I have a recipe for heart-shaped sugar cookies, or can give you a list of “Ten Fun Date Ideas Under $100.” The only thing laying next to me this morning was a pile of coral pillows, and my V-Day dinner will consist of my roommate and I deciding who gets the kitchen to meal prep first.

Clearly, this holiday is not in my wheelhouse.

That being said, I’m past the point where I feel compelled to bash Valentine’s Day. Flowers rank in the top five on my list of favorite things ever, so any holiday encouraging guys to bring home flowers to their lovely lady earns points from me. And if a bunch of my girlfriends get a proper date out of this weekend over the typical Netflix n’ chill, well cheers to that.

If holidays were people, everyone would take a lesson from Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving, everyone goes around the table and says what they’re thankful for. Even when that table is actually a coffee table, you’re sitting with friends instead of family, and your turkey-day feast consists of a random assortment of side dishes because no one realized a turkey took three days to thaw.

Valentines Day

Since one day a year I’m reminded to list all the things I’m thankful for, I’ll take one day to list all the things I love. Here is that list.

  1. I love alone time, when you’re not really alone.

Ninety percent of the posts I write are written at coffee shops. Every Saturday morning, I walk to this little shop in the alleyway behind my apartment. There’s no wifi, it’s typically packed, and I just zone in on my laptop as people come and go all morning. Some weekdays, I’ll leave the apartment early just so I can stop at another coffee shop on my mile-and-a-half walk to work. I love being able to do my own thing without any obligation for small talk, even though I’m surrounded by people.

  1. I love having friends who I have nothing in common with (at least on the surface).

This Christmas, my family flew to DC and celebrated the holiday in my small city apartment. I got the brilliant idea of inviting my friend Paula’s family over for coffee Christmas day, until I realized:

  1. I had no idea how to throw an adult party (i.e. one that does not involve getting blasted and heading to the bar) and,
  2. Paula’s family lives in Costa Rica, in a home run on solar energy. My family lives in Iowa, on a mass-production farm. I had no idea what the two groups would talk about.

Paula’s family stayed for almost three hours. Never once was there a lull in the conversation. When they left that evening, and my apartment door closed behind Paula, I turned to my brother who said, “Well that went shockingly well.”

  1. I love having coffee with my grandparents.

Every time I want to hang out with my friends, I feel compelled to have an activity attached to it. I hate spending money to grab a beer, go out to dinner, head out to the bar, or catch a movie; all when the one thing I wanted to do (catch up with my friends) is free.

Whenever I visit my grandparents, they pour me a cup of coffee, force-feed me cookies, and ask for updates on my life. I tell them about my job and my friends, and ask for the latest news on other relatives. We do all of this, without spending $7 on a beer at happy hour.

  1. I love the feeling of figuring things out.

I was twenty-two years old the first time I ever stepped foot on a subway. I understand this is nothing to brag about, but I cannot tell you the sense of pride I felt when I figured out the DC metro. Every time I move to a new city (I’ve lived in three in the past year alone), I get the same adrenaline rush/mental high-five feeling when I find a cool coffee shop, join a running group, or find a spot to safely park my car.

I love the fact that I can walk to work instead of dealing with traffic. I love the combination of exhaustion and pride you get after a sick workout. I love that in an era of expensive gym memberships, personal training, and yoga studios; the thing I love most (running) is free. I love traveling and tasting food so incredibly delicious, I have to recreate it when I return home. I love meeting open-minded, creative people once or twice, then staying in touch for years.

I love being the little sister to the best big brother in the world. I love having parents who will always question, never judge, and always find amusing my ever-changing lifestyle. I love keeping in touch with friends from every stage of life, so I’ll always have someone to call and talk to, no matter how long the walk home.

Friends

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For All the F Words
You have flaws. You f-up on a daily basis. And that should be ok.