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02/12/2013 05:02 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2013

Re-Inventing Valentine's Day for Singles, Couples, and People Who Hate Heart-Shaped Foodstuffs

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Valentine's Day is upon us, and it's time to express our love with gifts that would normally only be appropriate for a Care Bear. Like most annual celebrations, the tradition of Valentine's Day goes back to the Romans, who decided that the best way to celebrate fertility was to slap each others' bums and get wasted for a few days. Over the years, we've obviously adopted a few public intoxication laws that hinder such behavior. But somehow, at some point, it seems like the carefree Bacchanalian revelry of Valentine's Day was stamped out. And what replaced it was a corporate ritual to ensure that we all keep buying greeting cards and those chalky text-covered candies nobody likes (seriously, does anyone actually like those?)

To add insult to injury, not only does Valentine's Day tell us we need to spend money to make a tender gesture, but we're also told that if we're single, we're kind of worthless! On any other day, we'd probably dismiss that brand of belittling propaganda and be like, "Whatever, 1-800-flowers, you don't know me. I'm happy where I'm at." But after seeing the 20th weirdly sexy ad for chocolates on the side of our Gmail, we all tend to start measuring our self-worth based on our Facebook relationship status instead of our real intrinsic value. This, in turn, causes couples to feel like the victors, while single people are driven to grumpily grumble at all the Kate Hudson movies playing on TV all day long.

That's not to say that Valentine's Day is totally devoid of purpose. On the contrary, it's quite sweet that we designated a day to acknowledge those we care about, because let's face it: on a daily basis, most of us are too busy reprimanding our loved ones for not putting the toilet seat down to adequately articulate our affection. But the celebration of passion shouldn't be restricted to couples and people on awkward dates. On a day where we act on our love for others, how about we also channel our passion towards the things we love to do for ourselves?

We're going take the limelight away from kissing and snuggling and teddy bears for a minute, and spotlight it on a man who is devoting himself to his life passion. Our friends at Roadtrip Nation proffered up the above video of an interview with potter Barry Brickell, and we couldn't help but be struck by Barry's unapologetic commitment to his love in life. So, what does Barry love? Making pots. Ever since he was a kid, he just wanted to make pots, but family and friends and anyone with a random opinion always told him that his aspiration was ridiculous. Feeling pressured to follow the conventional path, Barry surrendered to public opinion, got a degree, and became a teacher. He hated every minute of it. Eventually, he decided to stop living his life for other people, and start doing what makes him happy. He's been a potter ever since, and he even built a theme-park-like railroad on his property just because he's super into trains. And yes, he knows you might think he's a little crazy with his train, and his pots, and his rejection of social benchmarks like marriage and kids in favor of making said pots. But he doesn't give a damn, because he's just giving himself to the one thing that he truly loves. To which we say: Screw Romeo and Juliet -- now that's a love story we should all get behind.

To watch more interviews from Roadtrip Nation, head to roadtripnation.com

By: Alyssa Frank

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