My Issue With Valentine's Day

My Issue With Valentine's Day

It's time to stop oversimplifying our most complex relationships

I understand the sentiment of wanting a designated day on the calendar to celebrate your significant other, but it has always made me cringe how Valentine's Day oversimplifies one of the most complex relationships that we have. Granted, Valentine's Day is generally regarded as a "Hallmark holiday" and is arguably not as important as holidays like Christmas or Fourth of July, but in the United States, we collectively drop about 20 billion dollars each February 14th. That's a lot. Therefore it's important to take into consideration that Valentine's Day allows us to completely glance over some very real problems surrounding a relationship that we consider important.

According to UCLA's Williams Institute, there are currently more than 8 million individuals in the United States who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, making up about 3.5% of the adult population. Regardless of the viewpoints about the LGBT community, whether in support of them or against them, the fact of the matter is that there is a significant amount of people in America who do not identify as heterosexual. Yet, it is still considered news, rather than a norm when same-sex couples are featured in Valentine's Day advertisements. In today's day and age it is surprising to many of us how much LGBT individuals are marginalized, and yet, many of us only remember to advocate for them when we see others doing so and/or when some atrocity makes headlines. Social issues are not only for thinking about when it is convenient to do so; they are ongoing issues that deserve ongoing attention. That is why I think that if we are going to have a holiday to celebrate intimate relationships, we should also be open to taking the time to make Valentine's Day an opportunity to recognize and include the LGBT community.

On average, there are about 20 people every minute who are physically abused by their partners in the United States. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that in the last year 10 million people have been victims of physical abuse by their significant others, and that does not even account for cases of emotional abuse which is much harder to report. Domestic violence is a very prevalent issue, but also one that really isn't given much attention at all. It is issues like partner/spousal abuse that further complicate intimate relationships, and we should not allow them to be completely simplified through stuffed animal and flower sales. About 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will face some form of physical abuse by their partners at some point in their lives. This is an issue so prevalent in intimate relationships that we should not just ignore it, and then show our sympathy when it is too late. If we are going to celebrate love, we should also be working to preserve it.

We give so much importance to romantic and intimate relationships, so we should also be willing to give importance to the issues surrounding them. If we each take a little bit of time on Valentine's Day to contribute our parts to helping such issues it would go a really long way. Relationships are much more than a teddy bear or box of chocolates and we should not lose sight of that fact just because it is Valentine's Day. A generic Valentine's Day gift will be cherished for two days but support to such prevalent issues will be cherished much longer.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Magazine

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New Year, Not New You

January 1st changes nothing.

New Year’s resolutions are obviously made with good intent, but the reality is that many people fail to keep their resolution within a couple of months. People often give up on their goals and claim that they will “try again next year, for real next time.” I personally believe that the easiest way to avoid this type of failure, is to not create new goals for the New Year.

A new year is exciting- the start of the calendar, celebrations, and a new date to write. However, there has always been a tradition where people set goals for themselves to accomplish during the new year. But why? I had a teacher who always said, “If there is something you want to improve in your life, start now.” And I couldn't agree more. Why wait for the first day of the year to change something?

Every year, we hope to change ourselves for the better starting January 1st. Most people are unable to pursue their goals because they often forget their goals, get sidetracked, or just give up. And that’s okay. Goals take time to be accomplished- it definitely does not happen overnight. Trying to change a lot at once is challenging and the goals we set for ourselves should be simple and realistic. I do believe everyone has something they can improve about themselves. Instead of making a list of goals on January 1st, we should periodically set goals throughout the year in order to work on ourselves everyday.

New Year’s does not mean you have to change. Keep being you and find small aspects of your life to improve on everyday because a small change can make a big difference.

Happy New Year!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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6 New Year's Resolutions You Can Tell To Get People Off Your Back

When someone asks, you can just throw one of these out there.

Let's face it; New Year's Resolutions have become an over-hyped fad. People at the grocery store or at your job or in class with you want to make small talk and of course, they ask the most basic question of January: "What is your resolution for the New Year?"

Until Valentines Day, you will hear this question asked a lot especially when you see people crowding at the gym the first few weeks of January in hopes to start their doomed fitness journey or the shelves cleaned off at the local pharmacies for teeth whitening strips (seriously, I've seen it).

Yes, some people want to start 2018 with a better smile and make all sorts of promises and then there are others who just want to live their life. As a person who believes in living each day learning from mistakes and striving to change with each lesson gained, I really don't care about new years resolutions. No offense to the people who do.

I want to be able to have something happen to me any day out of the 365 in the year and say "Hey, maybe I could change this and push to be better."

However, I'm 99% sure that the New Years Resolution trend will continue forth for a while to come because it's a fun idea for the holiday. So in order to fall in line with society and act like you believe in resolutions, here are a few resolutions ideas you can tell in order to appease the questioners and what they will most likely think of them.

1. "I'm starting a fitness journey."

What they hear: "I'm going to buy $50 Nike sneakers and spend over a hundred dollars on workout clothes and a gym membership, but I'm only going to for the first few weeks of January. I'll keep paying the membership and tell myself I'll go the next day,"

2. "I'm quitting smoking / a bad habit."

What they hear: "I'm going to quit but then I'm going to get the bill for my textbooks and break down and do it again in stress,"

3. "I'm going to stop texting my ex."

What they hear: "I'm going to stop texting him but then I'm going to get lonely in the middle of the night and break down. Maybe I'll go to the bar and drunk-dial him and act like it was a mistake,"

4. "I'm quitting meat/starting veganism."

What they hear: "I'm going to give up meat because I'm tired of feeling guilty because I'm eating something that had a face. Sadly, I'll see a Chick-Fil-A on the way to class and break down. Maybe I'll just get a kid's meal? Let's be real I'm getting an eight-count nugget meal,"

5. "I'm going to save money."

What they hear: "I'm going to put my direct deposit from my job straight into savings but then I'm going to transfer it into my checking account so I can get Cookout with my friends at 3 a.m."

6. "I'll get better grades."

What they hear: "I'm going to buy a ton of notebooks and pencils and go to class regularly the first two weeks of the semester, but then I'll realize economics is BORING and then skip to stay in and nap or watch Netflix,"

These are some of the most stereotypical resolutions for fellow nonbelievers of the holiday who are pestered with questions. Say these resolutions at your own risk because there are stereotypes associated with some of the more common resolutions. I urge everyone to strive to be better this year. Like, legit. Welcome to 2018 and may the year be in your favor.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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