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Six Things to do This Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is around the corner, prompting reflections of love and romance. Fluffy bears, red roses and chocolates will be grabbed off store shelves, and special date nights will be planned, honouring significant others.

While romance is an important component of Valentine’s Day, it is equally important to remember that love manifests in many different forms and can be enjoyed and celebrated in a variety of ways, whether you’re single and content, thinking about putting yourself out there or happily committed. Moreover, disability is not captured enough when it comes to the celebration of love – commercials around this holiday tend to be more fantasy-based, not reflective of a realistic or inclusive society. Often, there are highly idealistic versions of couples, engaged in cliché activities, like running on the beach to the soundtrack of cheesy music. Mainstream imagery excludes disability and romance, despite the fact that many people with disabilities have active and fulfilling love lives.

No matter where you fall, here are six ways to celebrate this Valentine’s Day:

Celebrate Friendships with a Friends Night

A young woman in a wheelchair is smiling up at a female friend.

One of my most memorable Valentine’s Days was throwing a girl’s night with my friends last year. We all happened to be single, and the great thing about celebrating love is that it is not limited to romance. I made a large pot of rosé pasta, prepared a charcuterie board of sweets and even had a crepe bar and themed cocktails with pink champagne topped with cotton candy. We spent the evening having great conversation, listening to music and doing tarot readings just for fun.

If you’re not in the mood for romance this year, a friends night is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and still enjoy the festivities. Friendship, after all, is often a lifelong bond that makes the journey lighter and more fun. Get together with your closest friends and celebrate their presence in your life.

Cook or Bake a Treat for Someone

Hand mixing flour in a bowl

Food is a universal love language; it is a way to invite someone into your world through the flavours, scents and textures of a dish you have created, so if you’re a foodie who enjoys being in the kitchen, try cooking for someone this Valentine’s Day to show your love and appreciation. Best of all, making food for someone does not have to be romantic – you can share your culinary creation with just about anyone from a family member, to a friend, neighbour or even your pet.

Try a decadent dessert like a chocolate soufflé or heart shaped cookies. If you’re not feeling like making something yourself, there is always the option of sending someone you love a treat through a food delivery service.

Sign up for a Dating App

A young couple sharing an intimate moment, the man uses a wheelchair.

If you’re thinking about getting out there on the dating scene, you might want to try signing up for a dating app. These days, it is the most popular method for singles to meet and get to know each other, and each day, more and more people with disabilities are joining.

I have spent a fair amount of time in the digital dating space myself and although it didn’t come without some peculiar interactions, many of my experiences were positive, leading to great dates with interesting, kind and intelligent people. I learned a lot about the current dating scene and discovered that disability does not mean less matches and less dates – humour, wit, honesty and conversations of substance are attractive qualities, and on dating apps with hundreds of options at people’s fingertips at any given time, these qualities are sure to stand out and win you matches with great dating potential.

I have found that being forthcoming about the fact that I use a wheelchair has been helpful, so I mention it in my dating bio and upload several photos where my wheelchair is visible. Questions will inevitably come up, but there are endless ways to have fun while putting yourself on the dating scene.

“So…can I ask about the wheelchair?”

“Of course you can! Cupid was aiming for my heart, but missed.”

In my experience, humour helps to break the ice, but think about what works for you and let your personality shine. People crave authenticity in romantic connections, so don’t be afraid of showing your vulnerable side – in the fast-paced world of swiping, openness and vulnerability are attractive, whether you have a disability or not.

Write Someone a Letter

Woman with a coffee mug and laptop

Receiving a personal letter is an old fashioned gesture that has not gone out of style. It takes effort and thought to express appreciation through words to someone important in our lives, so this Valentine’s Day, write someone a letter and mail it to them the old school way.

Write about a happy memory that you shared, talk about your favourite qualities about them and your hopes for the future. You can write a letter to anyone in your life that you love and appreciate, so even if you’re not romantically involved, this is a memorable gesture sure to brighten someone’s day.

If it’s easier for you to write it digitally, skip the pen and paper method and write it online. Choose a font that best represents you, and have fun.

Surprise Someone with Tickets to Comedy Night

If you like comedy, surprise someone with tickets to SCIO’s Comedy Night 2022. The virtual event is an excellent opportunity to enjoy some laughter and disconnect from the responsibilities of daily life. This year, the headliner is Judah Friedlander, known for his role in 30 Rock and his quirky and quick-witted stand-up routines that have earned him a Netflix special and a reputation of comedic genius by many.

The event takes place the evening of March 31st, so if you’re into the idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day a little bit later than February 14th, this is the perfect activity for you and a loved one.

Have a Solo Night of Self-Love

While Valentine’s Day is deemed as a day for celebrating our love for others, self-love is just as important. If you’re feeling introverted this year and prefer a solo Valentine’s Day, be sure to include self-love into the day. Make or order your favourite meal, watch your favourite movie, have a long bath with candles, or make a Valentine’s Day themed playlist of your favourite love songs of all time. If you’re feeling reflective, journaling is a great way to go within and think about what love means to you and what your hopes are for the future.

Celebrate your achievements, no matter how mundane they may appear and give yourself credit for making progress on your journey. Whether you are working full time, chasing your dreams relentlessly or adjusting to life with a disability, remember to be patient and loving with yourself this Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day from SCIO!

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