I have an odd relationship with Valentine's Day. We all know of Valentine's Day as a holiday that focuses around love and appreciation for romantic partners. For me, Valentine's Day carries additional connotations. While many see New Year's Eve as a day of retrospection, I use Valentine's Day for this very purpose. It’s the day when I look back and see how far I've come.
Two years ago, I was in a very dark place. At the time, I’d withdrawn from school, severed most bonds with my friends there, and descended into a state of deep depression. I couldn’t even think about other aspects of my life, such as finding a job or getting into a relationship. I couldn’t do much of anything for that entire year. There was some solace though: I’d met one of my best friends at that time and we bonded very quickly. This in turn led to meeting my other friends through his assistance.
A year ago, I was on the road to recovery. My friend group had grown to the largest in my entire life. Previously, I had only one or two friends I could go to. But now, I have an active and close friend group. We bond over board games, video games, and all sorts of geeky activities. Academically, I was also doing well. I’d changed majors and as a result my performance went from mediocre to stellar. I was a member of the honors society on campus, and established an excellent rapport with my professors. That semester I made the Dean's List.
This year, Valentine's Day holds additional significance. At this point I’ve come even further in both my studies and career. And I also met my girlfriend a few weeks before. All of this happened in a very short period of time. I found myself surprised for stumbling into good fortune, especially since it was not long ago when I could barely see the dawn of the next day and envisioning a better future for myself was virtually impossible.
In those moments of darkness, I felt like there was no hope. With the help of supportive friends and family, I was able to turn things around. All it took was small steps forward, and eventually so much had changed that the despair I felt is now alien. The ability to look back and see how far I came was an empowering act. I still have a ways to go, but now think that I can see better times for myself on the horizon. Hope has returned, and I think that especially in this age, hope is what a lot of us really want.