10 Ways to Feel More Independent

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6. Enjoy the Money You're Saving on Cologne and Boxer Shorts. Kate, 22, from New York City, has only spent one Valentine's Day with a serious boyfriend, but she doesn't dread the coming of February 14. In fact, it's her favorite holiday. "I really look forward to it!" says Kate, who usually goes on a date or out with friends on the big night. "I also like to hop online to one of my favorite shopping Web sites and get myself something really nice. I figure if I were involved I would be spending the money on someone else -- why not use it for me?"


7. Celebrate Your Sense of Humor. Jeanne, 42, from Geneva, New York, says she finds making a joke of Valentine's Day helps her state of mind. "I wear black, as if I'm in mourning. One year I attached a glittery heart sticker to the cuff of my sweater and told everyone I was wearing my heart on my sleeve for the occasion," says Jeanne.

8. Appreciate the Love You Already Have. We tend to think of romantic love as the only kind of love, but real love comes in many forms, from many different people. Carolina, 39, of Delray Beach, Florida, cherishes the time she spends on Valentine's Day with her son, Luis. "He always writes a beautiful card and buys me a gift. I also have friends who send me little love gestures like flowers. When you have that, you don't get the blues," says Carolina.

9. Stop Expecting Your Mother's Life. After all, would you even want it? Woodward Thomas says that many of us get stuck in holding patterns because we believe our "real life" begins when we find a committed relationship. We don't purchase homes, start saving for retirement, or buy good china, because those are things that one does after marriage. This might have been true in your mom's day, but now you don't need a man to live like an adult. So get rid of that old futon and chipped garage-sale dishes. You've arrived, baby!

10. Blow the Big Day Off. If cooking yourself a gourmet meal or flying to Nepal sounds like way too much effort, go ahead and get yourself some take-out and sit back with the clicker. After all, for some people, making a big production of Valentine's Day simply sends the signal that it's an important day and worth the anticipation or dread. It might also help to remember that even for couples, Valentine's Day is rarely what it's cracked up to be. With overpriced restaurants, impossible-to-get reservations, and heightened expectations, it's no wonder the evening frequently ends in silence or tears. Enjoy the fact that you have a free pass to spend February 14 exactly as you please.



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