Then Vs. Now: 14 Ways You Celebrate Valentine's Day Differently
Like many other things in your elementary years, Valentine's Day wasn't quite as serious back then as it is now. It was a jovial holiday marked by candy hearts, red and pink socks and writing notes to friends.
In your 20s and 30s, however, you're either stressing about what to get your significant other, or drowning in a bottle of red wine because you don't have a significant other.
Generations young and old dress up for Halloween, and Christmas is jolly at any age. But Cupid's arrow tends to take a bit more twisted, sometimes even awkward, turn with Valentine's Day as your years start stacking up.
There's a drastic difference to how this seemingly adorable holiday was celebrated then, and how it's tolerated — err, celebrated — now.
Then: You made crafts. Now: You make reservations.
Then: You wore red and pink. Now: You scour your wardrobe to find any other color than black, and fail miserably.
Then: Your parents spent $5.99 for a box full of cartoon valentine cards for classmates. Now: You spend $6.99 for a single Hallmark card for your significant other.
Then: You would get in trouble if you didn't give everyone a valentine. Now: You will definitely get in trouble if you give more than one person a valentine.
Then: The more valentines you had meant more candy. Now: The more valentines you have means a strong chance of STDs.
Then: You were satisfied with candy hearts. Now: You won't accept anything less than Godiva chocolate.
Then: There was no end in sight for the amount of candy you could consume. Now: Half a box of chocolates deep, the fear of diabetes suddenly consumes you.
Then: You chatted on AIM about what cards and candy you got. Now: You boycott Instagram for the day to avoid the posts from basic bitches displaying what #vdaygifts they got.
Then: You get home from school and reread all of the messages on your valentine cards while eating your candy. Now: You get home from work and reread all the sex scenes in "50 Shades of Gray" while drinking wine.
Then: You were jealous of other kids' Disney-themed cards. Now: You get jealous of other couples going on Disney vacations.
Then: Your parents helped you decorate your valentine card mailbox with sequins and lace. Now: Victoria's Secret helps you decorate your box with sequins and lace.
Then: Your crush could steal your heart with flowers and chocolate. Now: You break up with your significant other if he only gets you flowers and chocolate.
Then: Cupid was responsible for whether you had a valentine or not. Now: Your drunken antics on Saturday night are responsible for whether you have a valentine or not.
Then: You were single, eating chocolate and laughing. Now: You are single, eating chocolate and crying.
While Hallmark and the increasing materialism in America have blown this holiday out of proportion, let's not forget the true meaning of February 14: love (well, actually, legend bases it on a Saint in Rome who performed secret weddings, but that's for another day).
Whether you're happily single, in the "hooking-up" phase, in a committed relationship or downing cocktails in hopes of forgetting the day even happened, remember love comes in all varieties.
The success of the holiday may no longer be based on how many Mickey Mouse cards were in your mailbox, but it also doesn't require the stress of perfection when sharing it with a "special someone."
Show your love in any way you can to those who mean the most to you, like your friends, your family, your coworkers, your doorman, your manicurist or even the strangers you see on the street.
Maybe we didn't have it all wrong back then. Maybe we need to make some changes to our generation's current handling of February 14. Maybe we need to make a better attempt at making it fun, making it about appreciation and making it about love.