In military life, it’s not unusual to find yourself having to make dinner for one when just the day before you had grocery shopped for a small army. It’s part of the life we live. Sometimes, it’s a blessing in disguise to have some alone time. Other times it feels like just as you begin to catch your breath and get in the groove of cohabitation, you find yourself painfully solo again. The military does not discriminate, especially on holidays, and especially on Valentine’s Day. If you find yourself without your Valentine this year, have no fear. Most importantly, have no shame. After all, it’s the perfect excuse to do exactly what you want. You earned it, right? Here are three military survival tips for Valentine’s Day.
Turns out, you’re not alone.
Just as you begin to commence your pity party in your best party attire (aka yoga pants) make sure you’re not the only one alone this year. A lot of times someone else’s loved one is gone at the same time. This is a great way to indulgently treat your tribe. I’m a fan of potlucks because it takes the pressure of entertaining off and I’ve found that creating a food theme gets everyone excited. I’ve done everything from Italian, Mexican, veggie, and new recipe night. Volunteer to host it at your house with the rule that everyone has to show up in something comfy, which takes even more pressure off. Generally speaking, food and something stretchy are a win-win with any bunch of ladies.
Okay, maybe you are alone.
Like literally. Turns out your Valentine is the only one gone right now. Everyone is posting their dinner plans and flowers and the only thing you’re about to post up on is the couch. Before you throw in the towel for the night, at 8 p.m., remember that even though quite technically you are alone, today is about love — the love you share with someone else, but also the love you have for yourself (one of my favorites). Today is the perfect excuse to indulge in all the ways that make you smile. Order takeout from your favorite restaurant (but give them lots of time, Valentine’s Day is one of their biggest days of the year), buy yourself flowers (seriously, who doesn’t like flowers), stream your favorite guilty pleasure shamelessly on repeat, take a long hot bath (or don’t take one at all). Who cares, you’re alone, remember? Tap into all those times when you just wished for a minute of “me” time.
Share the love.
If not having specific plans with your Valentine has got you antsy and feeling down, reach into a different part of your love tank to see who could use a little extra attention today. Yes, I’m actually admitting to not being totally selfish. Visit a family member who might be alone today, a first time mom who just wants 30 minutes to shower, or my personal favorite — my local Animal Rescue League — to walk a furry friend who is always happy to see you. Love is a funny thing. Sometimes the more we give away, the fuller our heart feels. I think the Dali Lama was onto something when he said “an open heart is an open mind.” So keep your hearts open this Valentine’s Day, no matter who it may be for. But if you opted not to bathe out of spite, hopefully it’s just you, or the dogs.
How have you created a memorable Valentine’s Day without your sweetheart?