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Valentine's Day

Single Out a Different Kind of Love

5 ways for the unattached to celebrate Feb. 14

I have a wise friend who says, "Whatever is in the way is the way." Now this may be a bit too cryptic for some of you, but I take it as meaning that instead of avoiding something that bothers us, we're better off addressing it. Try and understand what feels so uncomfortable, and, in that way, you might conquer your fears.

OK, so I think that if you are single, Valentine's Day is probably getting in the way. In this case, I probably know why it's stalling you: Everyone is mooning over where to go and what to get their date or spouse. Trapped amid the flurry, many singles feel left out or annoyed at everyone (and all the commercial interests) for making such a big a deal out of this "jour de l'amour."

Even if you are a singleton who feels this chocolate-and-flower fest is grossly over-emphasized, all the buzz about romance can still make you feel lonely. You can long for someone to be with — if only to have a compatriot who also considers V-Day a crass, commercial holiday.

So to help the unattached avoid feeling down on Feb. 14, I propose we broaden the way we celebrate this holiday. There are lots of ways to feel and give love on Valentine's Day, and several have nothing to do with coupledom.

Here are my favorite, effective ways single people can reclaim mid-February and warm their hearts.

Have the people you love over for dinner. Invite your book club, brother and sister, or best buddies over for a potluck. Make the evening a reminder of how lucky you feel to have these wonderful people in your life. Remind yourself that all kinds of love exist in the world — and aren't you the one for having friends who care about you?

If you want to make your dinner party extra special, do a white elephant present-swap, or invite everyone to bring extravagant desserts. Make it a chocolate affair if you'd like to max yourself out on pure decadence for awhile. The sugary, creamy, rich indulgence will be fun —  and you really will make Valentine's Day yours!

Experience something new, and invite a friend. Make it a day for the experiences and things you really love, and have a friend come along. Do you love dessert soufflés? Have one for dinner.  Do you adore going to the lion house at the zoo? Don't miss it. Do the slopes beckon? Put yourself on one.

If you have been dying to buy something important that takes a lot of research and testing (a watch, a kayak, a new TV) make this the day you accomplish your goal. It's hard to feel bad about going solo when you are able to do things that make you happy — and remind you that you love life.

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