Here’s a hot take — Valentine’s Day is my second favorite holiday, after Halloween. I know the cynics and critics say that the Hallmark holiday is just a marketing scheme to convince people to buy presents for their loved ones, and that every day should be Valentine’s Day because love shouldn’t be commercialized, and yes, I believe these sentiments to be true. 

But if it’s also true that life is meaningless — that we’re just a bunch of meat puppets floating on a rock in the middle of outer space — then I’m going to exert what little control I have over my existence by telling my friends and loved ones that I care for them on a day as arbitrary as Valentine’s Day. 

I think my deep attachment to holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day are rooted in the memories I have of experiencing them as a child. There was so much anticipation for Valentine’s Day: buying little cards that came with temporary tattoos or pieces of candy for your classmates, making a mailbox out of an empty tissue box for the little valentines you’d receive in return, and the fact that the second half of the day was reserved exclusively for this practice. It was something special. Love was in the air.

It also seemed to be a day full of infinite possibilities, a day where anything could happen. In elementary school, Valentine’s Day was the time to make a move. If you had a crush, there was no better time to express your feelings than on the day of love. Last year, I volunteered in a kindergarten classroom every Friday afternoon. The last day of volunteering before the pandemic happened to be Valentine’s Day. I sat in a hard plastic chair and helped the kids sort their cards from each other. A boy asked me to read a love letter he wrote to a girl he played basketball with after school. A girl asked me to draw a heart for her best friend on a piece of pink construction paper. It was so exciting. 

Another thing I love about Valentine’s Day is the colors: pink and red, which are two of my favorites. In the spirit of these colors, and to take our mind off of everything else, I’m going to indulge in a bit of Valentine’s Day fortune telling. If you’re reading this, choose a color — either red, pink, orange, or yellow. Don’t think too carefully about it. Just settle on whatever comes to mind. 

Are you ready? 

Okay. Here goes.

Red — the ultimate color for lovers. It’s the color of hearts and cherry-flavored candy. If you picked red you’re destined for a day of love and romance. Maybe the person you’ve been thinking about will finally text you back. Maybe someone unexpected will come forward with feelings for you. Maybe you already have a partner, and you’ll spend some quality time with them. Whatever happens, it’ll be zesty. 

Pink — you’ll have a loving holiday with your friends. Mercury is in retrograde, which means people from your past might come back to say hello. Maybe you’ll drink pink wine with your roommate or watch a romantic comedy with your best friend over FaceTime. Maybe someone new will say hello to you in the hallway. Either way, you’ll be radiating a kind energy that will attract new friendships. 

Orange — if you picked orange. . . well, I have bad news. Valentine’s Day may not be the time for you. Maybe you’ve just ended a relationship with someone you care about. Maybe you’re questioning a friendship or debating how to tell a person you don’t like them anymore. Maybe you’re realizing the pandemic has rendered you completely lonely. Whatever your troubles are, orange says your holiday will be sticky and tricky. 

Yellow — the color of solitude is also a happy color, which means you’re finally realizing that you can be comfortable alone. Maybe you’ve struggled with this before. It’s okay to be alone. I think many of us are finding ourselves alone more often than we ever have before. If you picked yellow, focus on yourself this Valentine’s Day. Buy yourself a piece of candy. Order a whole pizza and don’t share. Spend time in your own company. At the end of the day, we only have ourselves, and if you’re uncomfortable with yourself, you’ll be uncomfortable with everyone else. 

Good luck, little cupids. I’ll see you on the other side.

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