Most of the time I’m pretty good with minding my own business. With living the life I want, and not what society expects of me. With not picking up the pressures society tries to foist on my back. By “most of the time,” I really mean some days are better than others. Because I’m human, and humans are messy, and I’m about as messy as they come. I’ve worked hard at living a full, good life because that’s the life I want, and not to live a full, busy life despite my life. Some days are better than others. Most holidays are a little iffy. Holidays are very family-centric.
I have a family, yes. But it’s not a traditional nuclear family. I am usually with my kids, surrounded by people who are married with their children. Some holidays are harder than others. Where I feel a little lonely, a little sorry for myself, a little pit in my stomach. I am grateful to have so many people in my life who love me, so I feel a little selfish and childish to sometimes feel like I’m missing something when I don’t have someone who loves me in that way right now, when I don’t have someone to share my life with in that way right now.
So let me be clear that I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day, even when I was coupled. I hate it like I hate New Year’s Eve. There’s so much pressure to celebrate something under such false pretenses. It sets you up to be underwhelmed. Yet everyone feels pressure to do something, to celebrate somehow, to buy something, to be with someone.
This year I haven’t felt sad or lonely. There was that one Valentine’s Day where for some reason I thought it was a good idea to go on a first date, and it was horriblehorriblehorrible. And I came home that night to flowers and chocolate on my doorstep from a dear friend. And I broke down in tears feeling so pitiful and grateful simultaneously. This year, I am light years away from that.
I am not spending my Valentine’s Day this year with that special someone. I am getting to know someone right now that I am so far crazy about. But there’s no acknowledgment of Valentining/Coupling in that way because we’re not there yet. But that’s not why I’m OK this Valentine’s Day. Because trust me, the pressure is still there. Friends ask what I’m doing for it, if I’m still seeing him, why aren’t I spending the day with him? Oh the societal pressures are still there, my friends.
But I’m OK with it all because I’m in a place in life of just accepting things as they are, and mindful about living a full, good life for me. And I’ve been recently reminded how fortunate I am. I have had two great loves and one good love in my life. And the passage of time has allowed me to truly be friends with each of them. And they are good, decent human beings. They are good people who are supportive and kind, and after all this time, still in my life.
I have shared parts of my life and myself with each of them. They each changed me profoundly. The love we shared was good and true and real at the time. And as testament to the goodness of their beings, they are still in my life in good, true ways. What a lucky gal I am.
The coupling didn’t last with any of these gentlemen, obviously. At the time I wished, oh I wished, that wasn’t the case. But such is life. And now I look at them and smile, knowing why I loved each so. Remembering who I was at each point in my life. And I am so content remembering them in my life as my loves. And so joyful they are still in my life in different roles.
A friend lamented to me that she just wanted to experience one great love. And that’s when I truly realized how fortunate I really am. At the end of each relationship, I was devastated that it didn’t last. Don’t get me wrong, the devastation brought me to my knees, took my breath away for years each time, shook my world off its axis. I see now how fortunate I really am, to have experienced love at all, much less three times. I have three solid, good people in my life who believe in me, who support me, who loved me in his own way, as best he could at the time.
We don’t feel the same intimate, romantic feelings for each other anymore. We haven’t for a long, long while. But the knowledge of each other’s true self, the acceptance of each other’s true self, the continued support of each other’s true self–there’s intimacy in that, even though it’s a different type of intimacy. The love, even though it’s morphed into a different kind of love, is still there. There’s a true desire for what’s best in my life, a true desire for what’s best in their lives.
Happy Valentine’s Day to me, I say. Here’s to celebrating love. Love comes in so many forms. But you know it when you feel it. And I realize I am filled with love, I feel it. I understand truly now, that to be loved, is to beloved. How could I possibly not love Valentine’s Day from here on out? It’s a Gratitude Day, a day that brings me back to remembering you can know love without being currently coupled. Having known love is better than chocolate any day, and that’s a big deal coming from a chocoholic. Carrying that love around is better than carrying the calories from chocolate, just sayin’.