OK. Before you all jump on me with your "commercialism, Hallmark holiday, forced affection, 'we don't need a special day to show our love'" arguments against Valentine's Day, let me say that I hear you, and I agree.
And none of that has anything to do with why I am making a case for Valentine's Day.
I am choosing to love Valentine's Day this year.
Other years, I have been more apathetic about the holiday. And there have been times when I chose to hate it.
Years ago, during a sort of pseudo-emo, post-breakup phase—in a symbolic, quasi-gothic gesture—I bought myself a black ring to replace one the ex- had given me, and I declared a war on all things happy or romantic, including Christmas and Valentine's Day.
In the past week, I've heard many people declare a supreme hatred for Valentine's Day. Despite the $18.6 billion that is expected to be spent this year, disdain for the holiday isn't an uncommon feeling.
And, as I said, I understand.
But, this year, I am choosing to embrace it and make it what I want it to be.
So, when I say this year that I like Valentine's Day, I'm not suggesting that you should or that I will spend $73.75 on chocolate, roses and a clichéd dinner. (By the way, $73.75 is the average amount Americans will spend on their significant other, according to the National Retail Federation.)
So, some of you can lose the pretentious tone when you voice your dislike for the holiday.
What I am saying is that I value love above most other things. And I don't necessarily mean romantic love.
Of course, I do adore romantic love and companionship, and I include that in my definition of love, but I'm also talking about a bigger meaning of the word.
I am choosing to think of Valentine's as a day to celebrate love in the more pure, natural sense.
Love is intrinsic in nature. It can be given and received in countless ways. Love is this child hearing his mother's voice for the first time. It's in the everlasting bond of family and friends.
You can love your country, your city, your pets, your co-workers, strangers, books, adventure, travel, your job, music—the list in endless.
Love is the appreciation and respect for self, for others and for life. Love is just about anywhere you want it to be. Love touches everything that is good in life.
Without some sort of love, I'm not sure the world could function, and I wouldn't want to live in a world where love is limited.
So, that's what I am celebrating this year on Valentine's Day.
Tell someone you appreciate them. Do a good deed. Or treat yourself to something special.
There is nothing wrong with seizing the chance to celebrate all things love, and I'm going to commemorate the holiday my own way.
I encourage you to do the same and rethink the decision to hate a holiday instead of embracing love.