Oh no, I see Valentine’s day is approaching yet again. A day about love. Even though there are many people in our lives that we love, this one day on our calendars has always been mostly about couples. When we were in grade school, it was about all the kids in class as we had to bring a valentine card for each child that way no one felt left out. As we moved in to junior high and high school it was about who we liked, thought was cute, wanted to be asked out by. In our latter years of high school and into college, it became about hoping for a date, a special date for a special night.
Once married, it became a special day that I probably received an extra I love you, maybe a card and even a dinner out. But after a while it was simply a date that I hoped my husband would remember! If I gave hints or mentioned the upcoming “date” I most likely received a card. Once the kids came along, there were no more special dinners out for this “holiday.” The kids would make me cards to be their valentine and as special as those were, and I do still have many of them, it is just not what I was hoping for.
Fast forward to my now single life – what a horrible day. Now I just dread the day. I see the day approaching and I am sad and hurt and angry. I concentrate on my husband being gone, on the fact that he is with someone else and I am alone. I try to once again figure out why he no longer loves me and I wonder who he is with and why. What a horrible, depressing day.
Not only have I been thrown back into the single life and the dating world, now I have to face this holiday all about “couples.” Being out of the dating world for over 25 years leaves me less than confident. What a scary world we live in; is it even safe to date? What do you do on a date? I mean, really, what I did at 18 on a date is totally different from something I would think to do at 44. And oh my gosh, don’t look in the mirror! My 40-something face and body look nothing like my 18 year-old self looked. Really, how does “this” get a date? As much as I would like to say that men age too, so men at my age now look similar to the way I look, it is not true. Why is that that men age so much more gracefully? And no matter whether they aged gracefully or not, and no matter if they are 20, 30, 40, 50 or older, they are not looking for someone my age. Okay, okay don’t go getting all soapbox-preachy at me. I am sorry for lumping all men into one category. And yes, I do know that there are men out there who are genuine and look below the surface to the inner being. But this isn’t about men and whether they are good or bad, genuine or not; this is about how I was feeling.
More importantly, how did I think I was going to even find a date feeling like I did about myself? I didn’t feel worthy of a date. I mean, my husband didn’t think I was worthy, in fact he said so, so why on earth would a stranger be interested?
You can’t even block the day out or pretend not to notice it. Marketing firms do their job well and bombard us with radio, TV, and newspaper advertisements all about this special day and the love that abounds.
But how about if we take the couple out of the day? How about we just focus on the love? Maybe we can make the day about loving ourselves, doing good things for us.
I have tried to hide, stay home, not answer the phone or emails or look at Facebook. I tried hanging out with friends, making it a group day. I tried doing special things with the kids; of course, that only works if it falls on my parenting day. In fact, I went on my first date in my new single life on Valentine’s Day.
I had been hanging out in a group of friends, one of us would call another and make plans to meet somewhere, then that friend would call the other and so on, and then we all end up out together having fun (or at least putting on a front that we were having fun.) Anyway, one of the guys in our group called and asked me about meeting at one of our regular places. I said sure and we talked about it being a great way to not think about the “holiday.” When I asked one of the others in our regular group if she was going, she said she knew nothing about it. After much discussion with her, she laughed out loud, and informed me I had been out of the dating scene so long I didn’t even know when I was being asked out!
Fast forward and several Valentine’s days have passed. My focus is different. I still see all the hype with happy couples oh-so in love. I work really hard to be happy for them and not bitter. It gets better with time. I do, however, focus on the LOVE I do have in my life. I miss my parents every minute of every day, but I know that I was loved. I love love love my kids and I know, yes, even when they don’t act like it, that they love me too. I love my daughter-in-law and grandbabies. I love my friends. I love my job. I love my church. I love GOD. I even know that I am loved by many, and in that I also know that my ex-husband loved me at one time. Although he will never admit it, probably ever, I can now look back and know that he did. No matter how brief it may have been, and I will never know and probably don’t care to know, it was there.
So as this holiday approaches, I may chose not to celebrate in the way media says I should. I am okay with that. It can be just another day or it can be a special day; that all depends what I choose to make it. So don’t let the media bring you down on what Valentine’s Day is, or is supposed to be, or should be. Make it whatever you want it to be!