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:
- 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!
- 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. [↩]
- 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 [↩]