Just 11 days to go

I was so glad to say goodbye to January that I turned my calendar over one day early.

Or actually, I thought about doing it, but ruthlessly slapped my hand away from the pushpin because by god, we don’t break those rules in this house. Not sure when we became so strict about such things, but, management, you know how it is.

Anyway, I did flip the calendar on February 1 (to a lovely picture of Lake Mead you can see in the header of this post) and said adieu to an altogether lousy January. When you combine a mob storming the capitol, the longest 3 weeks before an inauguration ever, and some lousy personal stuff (sorry to be vague, but it doesn’t need to be shared here), it was a bummer of a month. So, I was happy to bid it goodbye.

And then. AND THEN.

Bouquets of roses started showing up in the ads that chase me around the internet. Because…it’s February. And Valentine’s Day is coming.

Ugh. Is there any Hallmark holiday less worthy of a “can I opt out?” button than Valentine’s Day?

Some years, I am perfectly happy to enjoy hearing about the gifts and flowers and adventures that couples share. Other times, I want to hurl those gifts right at my computer screen.

This year, I am a mix of feelings. I know, for example, that the flowery hearts of social media don’t always reflect the actual state of a couple’s happiness. So, I find that I hope everyone celebrating the holiday is doing it for real, and not to project domestic bliss when their lives are anything but.

I kinda think I will send some actual Valentines to people who matter, because if there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that real mail still exists and it’s fun to get it. Plus, I bought Valentines last year and forgot to send them. So in that way, I sort of of have the spirit.

But I also want to just reach out and hug every single person who is going through these hard times solo. And they are hard. Even if you’re safe, healthy, employed and have a roof over your head…and few of us are all of those things…it’s tough to be doing this alone right now.

I try not to make sweeping generalizations of anyone’s life based on my own. But, I suspect that many of us, who are both pilot and navigator of life, have worked damn hard to build something that works, even in a society that is entirely structured around couples and the nuclear family. It could be the tribe we’ve built, or the travel we take, or the volunteering we choose to do, or a million other things.

But for nearly a year now, those things have been a distant memory. And I, for one, miss them desperately.

There’s an important thing that singles everywhere must learn in order to survive. Alone does not equal lonely.

But lately, I’ve noticed more feelings of loneliness. I feel it in the fact that I am so tired of doing all my chores, day in and day out, by myself, with no one to help. I feel it in how, if I want to talk – actually talk, not text – to another human, I have to do it by phone (shudder), make a plan for a Zoom call (sigh), or arrange a pandemic-approved meetup complete with masks and distance (ugh). I feel it in how much I really really want to get on a plane and go on an adventure – somewhere, anywhere – that will fill my soul tank with pictures and food and good memories.

Most days, I don’t feel the loss of not having someone in my house with me. Most days, I’m grateful to be lord of my own manner, so to speak.

But some days, I would just like someone else to take out the trash or join me while I walk the dog. And yes, I realize relationships are much, much more – and much harder – than such simple things. But still…

So, singles out there – I feel you this Valentine’s Day season. All I can offer is that we only have 11 more days of incessant advertising to get through before we move on to a less fraught Hallmark holiday. Stay strong, hang in there – this too shall pass.

PS: Last year, my dog decided to send me a present for Valentine’s Day (she has a written speech pattern remarkably like my dad) , and while it wasn’t the same as a lover sending roses, it was pretty great. So, if you are reading this and you are not a single, but you know one and have the means…this is your official “hint, hint.” 🙂

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