Beyond V-Day

4 things to light your way as you try to survive Valentine’s Day

Photos by N.S. Villaflor

 

LET’S face it. Valentine’s Day is not for everyone. The build up to this date on social media over the last few days has left many an individual annoyed, if not distraught. Perhaps you, or someone you know. To them, V-Day sounds more like D-Day, an annual emotional death sentence that can only be overturned either by joining the ranks of the hitched, celebrating with hopeless romantics, or being happy for those who are blessed in love.

torches

Nothing, of course, can be farther from the truth. There is absolutely nothing wrong about not celebrating Valentine’s Day. Many, in fact, have become so inured to all the expressions and manifestations of romanticism that Feb. 14 just buzzes by like any other ordinary day. There’s no need to go all maoy and make warla on Facebook.

How do they do it? Well, the simplest trick is to keep oneself occupied, fast. Distract the mind, and the heart will follow. The farther your thoughts wander, the higher your soul soars, leaving behind all the hurt and disappointment behind. The key is to keep focused. Let’s help you out with four quick doables to help you reach altered states and take you far, far away from Valentine’s Day.

An old steel bridge in Asturias town in Cebu
An old steel bridge in Asturias town in Cebu

1. First, unhook from Facebook

Just for today, or tomorrow, or the entire week or month, stay away from social media. The reason is simple: social media will feed you with so much saccharine it will make your teeth hurt, and all that pain will go straight to your chest and make your heart burst. It takes commitment to unhook, but not impossible.

2. Go seek a lighthouse

Love is blind, they say, but the beauty of a lighthouse can lead the way. So that might sound rather mushy but the entire point of looking for a lighthouse is to move you from point A to point B (read: travel). Staying stationary will just give you the urge to look for wi-fi, which brings us to number one. If you’ve just been through a painful relationship and darkness surrounds you, then think of the what the lighthouse represents and all the light that it casts to guide those who are trying to find their way. The fact that a lighthouse has led you to the same spot where you have come means something: that you have moved on.

Grassy path to the lighthouse of Malapascua Island
Grassy path to the lighthouse of Malapascua Island

3. Go count bridges in the countryside

Remember that book “The Bridges of Madison County”? Don’t. Just don’t. That heartbreaking story will just make you more miserable. Instead, purge yourself of all that cliche associated with bridges and look at these engineering structures in a different light. Where there are bridges, there’s a river or stream, if not a chasm, and each river, stream or chasm has a story to tell and the bridges that go over them have been quiet witnesses to these stories over the years. The older the bridge, the more fascinating the stories. Talk to those who use the bridge, especially the elderly. Ask them what this bridge was made of before: hardwood, bamboo, steel cables? And yes, those bridges can teach you a thing or two about making the right connections, and the elderly, perhaps, how to survive a heartbreak and live to tell the tale.

Chopsticks and laksa from a noodle house that once was
Chopsticks and laksa from a noodle house that once was

4. Learn to use chopsticks

First, the more practical reason: there seems to be a noodle revolution going on in Cebu right now, a lot of them needing chopsticks to be enjoyed thoroughly. And for some reason, using chopsticks makes noodles taste better. So what does it have to do with Valentine’s Day and forgetting? Not much, unless you suddenly figure out that chopsticks always come in pairs, and that a chopstick by its lonesome is basically of no use except perhaps for keeping a bundle of hair in place. That’s the bad news about chopsticks. The good news? You are not a chopstick and would probably do well on your own. Learning chopsticks is just a good excuse to eat more, and nothing beats delicious food when it comes to making you forget about something, like Valentine’s Day. (Freon Ollival)


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