As much as I hate to admit it, I am susceptible to the pressures of our culture. The internalized belief that, at thirty-four, I should have found “Mr. Right” and be married with our first kid on the way. But that hasn’t happened – yet.
And, so, I’ve come to think of Valentine’s Day as Singles’ Awareness Day. That’s right. This is the day – each and every year – that I wake up on my side of the bed and feel especially aware of the emptiness beside me.
On the street, couples hold hands. Never mind that they haven’t had sex in months or fought, yesterday, about who would do the laundry – or that he’s considering leaving her for some girl he met at work. I stare at these couples through the lens of my misconceptions and wish away my singledom.
Or do I?
The last long-term relationship I was in felt incredibly lonely and, each year, on this meaningless day that I’ve imbued with such significance, I’d be hit full-force with the recognition of how much I wanted out.
I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person, I thought. When I get out of this, I’m never going to settle again.
And I haven’t. I’ve opted for the often-lonely alternative of being with myself rather than interweaving my life with someone who was so obviously wrong for me. So why all the what ifs…? and if onlys…?
I can’t quite answer that. I think there is something perpetually unsatisfying about the human condition – something that demands that we be somewhere other than where we are. At least, that’s been my experience. And, so, today, I am confronted with the questions: How can I love myself in the absence of a romantic relationship? What can I do today to bridge the gulf of loneliness?
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Teach yoga.
2. Write in my amazing co-working space, surrounded by people who are friendly, kind, and passionate about what they do.
3. Meet a friend for dinner in the city.
4. Perform in an improv show!
In short, a million times better than all those Valentine’s Days I spent with the wrong person. And a lot less lonely.