(CNN)Valentine's Day is almost here, and yet there seems to be more stress and viral particles in the air than love.
There's been ice in Texas and barely a lick of snow in the Northeast (apparently Buffalo, New York, took it all). We learned that China cares about Montana and Madonna is getting old — which is actually just a reminder that we are all getting old.
And no matter how many times we think the ills of the world can be solved, they stubbornly aren't. (OK, some things do change, but that's for another day.) Perhaps carpal tunnel is starting to set in on the finger used to swipe left or your partner said the triggering thing for the thousandth time.
Here is your official permission to embrace your inner Grinch this Valentine's Day. It feels decidedly more like a sit on the couch in one's underwear and eat Rocky Road out of the pint with a fork kind of Valentine's Day. No need to share.
Down with love — or at least commercial love — and up with laziness!
Need more evidence from the past year? The so-called tripledemic sucked the fun out of so many people's December holidays. Family gatherings were trimmed back, respiratory infections gathered around the tree with Aunt Betty. Your kid has back-to-back snotty somethings, and you know more than you ever cared to about the distinctions between RSV, the flu and Covid-19.
We went from quiet quitting to "resenteeism" at work, feeling stuck by a potential economic downturn and rising layoffs. Red and pink heart-shaped boxes have been tickling our consumer sensibilities since December 26, yet there is something that feels decidedly dreadful about having to conjure the energy to think creatively about Valentine's Day presents or plans.
The charm and romanticism have been ripped out of the season for many. Can we just skip it this year and work on getting jazzed for Flag Day?
"There are a lot of things weighing on people's hearts and minds these days," said Damon L. Jacobs, a New York City-based licensed marriage and family therapist. "A chronic pandemic, record-breaking cold weather, threats to democracy, regular exposure to violent deaths on the news — all can lend themselves to a sense of restlessness, uncertainty, and grumpiness that romantic warmth and fuzzies cannot alleviate."
Over the past two Valentine's Days, we were traumatized, then left languishing. We had one summer of love, but the hype outweighed the actual heat. It's not back to normal, but we ran out of words to describe where we are. This Valentine's Day, take permission to forgo the red hearts pomp and circumstance and do whatever your grumpy heart desires.