Breaking conventions on Valentine’s Day
Sienna White reflects on the importance of celebrating all kinds of love on Valentine’s Day, not just romance.
Valentine’s Day is often met with mixed emotions. The barrage of mushy adverts, sickly sweet chocolates and overpriced teddy bears can feel like a slap in the face to singletons, another incessant reminder of how in love everybody else seems to be. Certainly, in the mainstream media, romantic love takes the forefront in Valentine’s Day marketing. However, there’s an increasing trend of people who are choosing to reject these traditions and focus on celebrating the different, but just as valuable, types of love that make up our lives. ‘Galentines’ has become a buzzword in recent years, and it’s brilliant to see the importance of friendships making its way into the limelight, or at least taking some of the focus away from romance.
A year ago, I was single. In fact, I even wrote an article about celebrating the importance of platonic love last February. Fast forward to now and I’m in a relationship with a wonderful, kind man who I’m incredibly lucky to be able to call my boyfriend. But I stand by the importance of truly valuing all the different loves in your life, and so this Valentine’s weekend I tried to make it as rounded an experience as possible. I travelled home for the weekend and had some much-needed quality time with my family – seeing my parents was particularly special, as it’s been far longer than I would have liked since I last came home.
I’m very grateful to be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with all the important people in my life, but something I’ve learned is that honouring self-love is equally vital
The rest was spent with my boyfriend, who drove down to visit me. He’s not a student at Exeter, and so our time together is even more special when we have it – everyone in a long-distance relationship knows the absolute joy of seeing your partner again after an extended time apart. We spent a magical weekend exchanging gifts, going out for dinner, and having a double date with my best friend and their partner, which was a great bonding experience for us all.
Unfortunately, the 14th fell on a Monday this year, and the realities of life meant I spent most of my day travelling on a coach back to Exeter. The evening, however, was spent with my dearest friends at university, making chocolate covered strawberries and Valentine’s cookies and spending the evening catching up, celebrating platonic love in all its glory.
I’m very grateful to be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with all the important people in my life, but something I’ve learned is that honouring self-love is equally vital. I’ll be taking myself on a day trip somewhere nice soon to have some time out after a busy weekend. If you didn’t have any plans this year, why not cook yourself a meal you’ve been wanting to try, go on a scenic walk, or even treat yourself to that dress that’s been sitting on your wish list for the last 6 months? Throughout your whole life, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself!