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Happy Valentine’s Day

The title of this blog posting was going to be “You sound like a bitter crazy woman!” Which might have been what a friend of mine said to me on the phone last night. In my defence, she’d been asking about a recent date that I had and since dating sucks, how else was I supposed to sound? Wait, that really wasn’t in my defence at all. OK, let’s start over.

I’m 34. I’m single. And it’s Valentine’s Day. As a single person, there are one of two possible responses to V-Day that are expected from you:

  1. depression
  2. saying “that’s just a Hallmark holiday, designed to get suckers to spend money and I’m above such nonsense.”

Now, coupled people are allowed to choose option #2, but when a single person says it, everyone thinks they are just trying to cover up their bitterness and depression.

For me, as Valentine’s Day approached this year, I found myself feeling like it was a holiday that was created entirely for the purpose of reminding me that I’m single  ((there is a reason that “rampant narcissism” is a category here on my blog, you know)). Which I know is silly – I mean, whenever I’ve been in a couple, nothing romantic has happened on Valentine’s Day anyway. But at a meeting last week when a colleague said, “Let’s not forgot that Monday is Valentine’s Day – we don’t want our spouses to get mad at us for forgetting!”, my immediately reply was, “Single people really don’t like Valentine’s Day” – and it came out *a lot* more bitter sounding than I’d intended  ((My colleague was surprised and said, “I thought you were dating someone?” and when I replied, “No, we broke up,” he said, “Well, I’m glad I could bring that little bit of pain into your life.” I’m lucky that I have colleagues with such good senses of humour!)). That was when I knew that I had somehow soundly fallen into option #1. Which then just made me feel like a cliché. Which in turn made me feel more depressed.

However, after talking to my friend last night, who pointed out my sounding like a bitter crazy woman, and also acknowledging that I haven’t really been single for *that* long1, I hopped in my car to head to my hockey game. And as I drove to hockey, the realization hit me out of the blue – I don’t have to choose to be bitter about today. But I also can’t honestly say “I don’t care about Valentine’s Day in any way, shape, or form,” because obviously I do, as evidenced by my gut reaction to the mention of it2. So really, I can choose to be bitter or I can choose to embrace it. I know it sounds cheesy, but this is *exactly* what I did with hill running. I used to be miserable every time I had to run up a hill, until one day it just hit me that I could choose to like running hills. I didn’t have to *actually* like it – at least not to start. I just had to stop being so freaking negative about them, telling myself I liked them, and eventually I would actually start to like them – fake it ’til you make it! It’s also what I did with my birthday – I was, for some unknown reason, *dreading* turning 34, but at some point I realized that turning 34 is much better than the alternative – not turning 34. And so I embraced my birthday – with cupcakes and new boots and my Bethmas Extravaganza – and I ended up having an awesome freaking birthday. Embrace it.

Now, I’m not talking “embrace” Valentine’s Day in an over-the-top insane way – I didn’t dress up in all pink hearts and run pink streamers all over the office. But just little things. I told my sister that I love her. I ate one of the chocolate hearts that a colleague brought to this afternoon’s meeting. I wore a pretty dress with a sexy sheer black slip underneath even though I knew no one was going to see it.

The other day, I mentioned in a comment over on Rick’s blog: “I am a big believer in being positive simply because being positive is way more fun than being negative.” And it really is! Being negative is so… negative. While being positive is so full of awesome.  And I choose awesome.

So, in conclusion: I hope y’all had a Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. what can I say? I’m an impatient woman! And I’m a doer and making an appropriate single man appear in my life is not something I actually have any control over. And I *hate* when it becomes obvious to me that I don’t have control over something. []
  2. of course, it’s not actually *Valentine’s Day* that I’m bitter about. It’s my singleness and V-Day just serves to point out that I’m single []

12 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day

  1. I love you!

    You are all kinds of awesome and I miss you. xoxo

  2. Dan says:

    Happy V-day to you Dr. Beth. I kind of wish you did go all over-the-top with pink hearts and such. That would have been awesome.

    While I do not celebrate the day in the usual manner (you know, buying stupid things), I did present several parametric equations for heart shaped curves to my class. It worked out perfectly since today was the day that I was supposed to teach parametric curves – which was totally unplanned – but fun. After presenting the curves, I may have mentioned to the students “You see, the language of love is really Math”, and they may have giggled. Valentine’s win! w00t! I might actually add that as a bonus question on the next midterm: What is the language of love? Hilarious. I kill me. Of course, my students probably think I’m the biggest dork ever.

    Additionally – positive is the only way to be. Negative sucks.

    In other news, I have to say I’m really not a fan of the reCaptcha things. My stupid eyes can’t read most of the ‘words’ most of the time. LOL.

  3. Dan says:

    Also, Sarah’s comment is awesome. AWESOME. Like you. w00t!

  4. Rick says:

    Beth, you rock! I agree, being negative is so not cool. Positivity is the only way to go! And I’m going to take your stance and ’embrace it’. It’s been a bit stressful at work and I’m being all dramatic about it like I usually am, but I need to choose to embrace it! This is clearly a life lesson in awesomeness. (And OMG, Katy Perry’s Firework just came on my play list as I’m writing this. I’m totally not kidding. I’m serious! AWESOME!) And I’m also going to take your approach with turning a new age. It’s definitely better than the alternative, and I never thought of it that way before. To celebrate this new found approach to life, I will now dress up in pink hearts.

  5. Beth says:

    I love you too, Sarah!

    Rick – Every time I hear Katy Perry’s Firework, I think of you. And a drag queen pretending that fireworks are exploding out from all over her body. But mostly you. And I’m glad that my lesson in awesomeness was helpful. I’m all about spreading the awesome.

    Speaking of awesome, Dan, I love that you were teaching parametric equations for heart shapes to your class today. And I’m sorry that my reCaptcha thing sucks for blinkards such as yourself. There is an option to have an audio cue instead – you just click the little picture of a speaker. If you can see the little picture of the speaker, that is. (I’m such a jerk).

  6. Dan says:

    LOL. You are a jerk. But a jerk that I happen to think is a huge slice of awesome. Sadly, I didn’t notice the audio cue thingy. I’ve just been maximizing the font size on my screen, using the magnifying glass, and getting really close to the ‘words’ in order to figure out how the frick the reCaption reads. I may also have to go through the process multiple times. It’s like a game, but I lose a lot. LOL.

    I heart parametric equations of the heart. Just sayin’.

  7. Dan says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention – excellent use of the term blinkard. +1000 interweb points to you.

  8. Rebecca says:

    From one single woman to another, I second everything you just said 🙂 Especially with regards to friends who are in relationships – most of them will swear up and down they don’t do anything special, but the pain is knowing that they have the option to do something special to one another, while you don’t. You can’t even get a little bit hopeful that maybe someone will do something cute and romantic, even if it’s a small guesture.

    But! Positivity! It rocks! I got home last night, put on a really loud playlist, and made myself terrible chocolate chip cookies (they’re harder than hockey pucks – I can ship you a few if you’d like), then had an awesome chat with a friend, which made it a much better day 🙂

  9. My single cousin and her single friends all get together for a massive drunken pubcrawl on V Day, wearing the most hideous bridesmaid dresses their married friends have ever inflicted on them. I’ve always thought that was an excellent response to such a ridiculous day!

  10. Dan says:

    A hideous bridesmaid dress brew-ha-ha? I love that idea. Granted, I’m no so much into the wearing of dresses and such, but the concept is brilliant. I would show support by wearing an equally tacky tux or other manly wedding-wear.

  11. Beth says:

    I don’t own any tacky bridesmaid dresses! Of course, I’ve only been a bridesmaid once and I got to choose my own dress and it’s an awesome dress!

    Dan – Not into wearing dresses? I’m sure I’ve seen a photo of you at a party in a wedding gown…

  12. Dan says:

    This is true. But it’s not something that I’d normally do. It really requires a special occasion. Such as a Ph.D.-Successfully-Defended-And-Halloween-Costume-Party-Rolled-Into-One-Crazy-Epic-Event sort of party. Also, it requires a lot of booze 🙂

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