Valentine’s Day in Leam? No thanks, I spent Galentine’s Day in Barcelona

I also had an existential crisis about love

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and instead of moping around Leam as a single-pringle, I convinced my best friend to take a spontaneous trip to Barcelona with me to live our best single life. But instead of strolling the streets of Spain, I sat writing about how much I hate love. Fitting. 

If you’d asked me a year ago about Valentine’s Day, I would’ve spouted a long speech about capitalism preying on our consumerist tendencies and pumping us with a need to buy overpriced presents to make up for being a bad partner. I would’ve talked about all the ex-private school students flocking to La Coppola for an expensively disappointing meal, or all the single third years sharking the Kasbah floor for impressionable and lonely freshers. Actually, I’d still say this today.

Why do couples get a day to celebrate being together? Part of me wants to say it’s elitist. But I know how much work relationships are, so I guess all couples deserve a pat on the back. In fact, I propose we change Valentine’s Day from a day celebrating love to a day of celebrating perseverance. Nobody really talks about the effort required for relationships, especially as students- it’s a lot of bloody work. 

I would argue relationships are less about love, and more about choosing to care about someone each and every day – like choosing to go to POP with your bestie to stop her from getting with her ex, even when you hate ABBA.

Now, you may be wondering why the hell I was in Spain for Valentine’s Day, and if I am honest, I can’t give you a straight answer. Maybe it’s the ex that is lurking around every corner waiting to scare me with his new relationship that has chased me out of the country. It could be the Applied Ethics essay that I have due on Wednesday. It’s probably my lack of Vitamin D caused by spending my days curled in some remote corner of the FAB building. My burnout is increasing daily and I think I needed a well-deserved break. Sue me.

This is why my friend and I treated ourselves to a friendship Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as a Galentine’s Day. She picked a fancy restaurant followed by dancing – a night I very much enjoyed. Moments like those reminded me of how grateful I am for my friends. I may not have been with a partner, but I was with a loved one. And these loved ones are often overlooked in the search for romance. 

So single people, this is a message for you. There is a tendency around this time to forget about everything but your crushing loneliness; to look at every couple with disdain. I know, because that’s what I do. But there is a certain beauty to this holiday. Not because it is a chance to celebrate all the couples out there, but a chance to celebrate all the kinds of love you have in your life.

Let’s appreciate the drunken girls who hold your hair back when you’re throwing up purple; your best bros that stand in the Pret queue for you when you’re crying over an essay due the next day; your flatmates that actually empty the bins. Don’t celebrate the ones that just keep piling rubbish up though – they suck.

I think I have a lot to learn about life and love, and I am on a journey of self-love I will be travelling on for a while. Whilst I may still roll my eyes when I see cringe couples sucking each others’ faces in the library, I have friends I love with all my heart and if Valentine’s Day is about being with the ones you love, then I think I did something right. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves.

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