Valentine’s Day. Just hearing the words used to make me shudder. As someone who is single by default (although I am certainly not opposed if anyone would like to confess their love to me at this time), this used to be one of my least favorite days of the year. In high school, I used to walk around as if on glass, wondering if that boy in that band I liked had somehow noticed me and would slip a handmade card in my locker, which would then cue a montage of sharing a milkshake and him giving me a mix CD. This never happened.

In college, I would wonder if Mr. Right would somehow sidle up behind me while I was in line to get coffee, or a bagel (the exact nature of what I was buying was never clear) and he would smoothly say something like, “You know what, this holiday is bullshit. Wanna celebrate Valentine’s Day together tonight?” After this would follow a montage of us watching a movie in his dorm room with lots of warm lights and blankets, and then him giving me a mix CD (note: being given a mix CD is a strong through-line in all of my romantic fantasies). But this never happened EITHER.

 

What’s a gal to do? I used to wonder despairingly, cramming chocolates from the care package my mom sent me into my mouth. Watch He’s Just Not That Into You and cry?

Well, to that I say: NO MORE.

Being in a relationship is great, but being single is awesome. You can talk to whoever you want, dance with whoever you want, kiss whoever you want (or don’t!) without a semblance of guilt. Your nights are yours. You don’t have to compromise on movie choices. You don’t have to negotiate what restaurant to go to because one of you loves Mexican and the other hates it. You don’t have to choose between staying in on Friday night and going out. Because all of your time is yours. And this is not to hate on anyone in a relationship (because I am a hopeless romantic at heart), but being single is something that gives you a sense of autonomy and total control over your own life that you might not always have. So own it!

This year, I encourage all of you are who are single out there to take yourself out on a date for Valentine’s Day. Celebrate the beauty and power and awesomeness that is you. It’s the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to something you might not always allow yourself to do. Buy that dress you’ve been eyeing for months now, for example, and go to a happy hour afterwards. Take yourself out to a nice dinner. Pop a bottle of champagne. Get yourself a box of chocolates (though obviously you should still accept the box your mom sends you) and eat your favorite ones, because you don’t have to share.

But do something nice for yourself. Even better—do multiple nice things for yourself. Treat yourself as you would want the ultimate Valentine to treat you. Because at the end of the day, you are your own best friend, your own best cheerleader, and yes, your own best date. That’s one thing that won’t ever change.

This year, I am celebrating Valentine’s Day by going out to dinner with friends, draining a few glasses of red wine, and hitting up CVS on February 15th to get that box of chocolates that’s now 50% off. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier.

Because I’m #DatingMyself. And right now, I’m the only date—Valentine’s Day and otherwise—I’ll ever need.