Here we are in the season of hearts, flowers and teddy bears. That holiday meant for love that has truly become an obstacle to overcome.
It’s especially tough for us single gals. Valentines’ Day — that glaring spotlight meant to shine the light on the idea that your life, or to use Facebook lingo, your “relationship status” isn’t all that.
“Us single gals?” Did someone hit the brakes on that line? Yes, since I did get married last year, technically, I no longer fit the demographic. But since I didn’t get married for the first time until I was 49, I think I will forever see the world through single eyes. I was telling my newly single friend, Anna, the other day that it’s kind of like body dysmorphic disorder. You might’ve lost 100 pounds, but when you look in the mirror, you still see the same old body staring back.
I can assure you my marriage is off to a great start. In fact, I sometimes think I share my happy too much in this column at the risk of making you gag.
So please, let me interrupt any “I’m Single on Valentines’ Day” Pity Party you might be having, to say what just about no happily married person is supposed to say.
Single is good.
I see reminders of this all around me.
My friend, Julia, lost her job a couple of weeks ago. As we met for coffee last week, she showed me her plan for rebounding from the layoff. There were three circles: Job she could get; job she’d love to shoot for; and complete career reinvention that would really feed her soul, but required taking a risk and maybe making less money at first.
“Sounds weird to say,” I told her. “But I’m so glad you’re single.” She, of course, looked at me like I was nuts, which is a common occurrence in my life, until I can explain. “There is no husband to consult, no one else’s career to consider, no kid to put through private school.” Julia will get to figure out her career path for herself. Jobless is a great time to have just you to worry about. I know it was that for me. I did a career reinvention, then I found the guy. In that order.
Then there is food. I remember a few years ago talking to my friend, Sandra, as she tried to make peace with the idea that her father was starting to date again, not too long after her mother passed away. “At least, he’ll have someone to eat dinner with every night,” she reasoned. “At least he’s not opening a can of soup for dinner.”
As I was listening to her reasoning, I had the phone in one hand and the other hand was — I kid you not — dumping a can of soup in to a pot on the stove for my dinner. I realized two things at that moment. For some people, opening a can of soup for dinner and is the epitome of loneliness. For me, it was bliss.
Even today, as much as I love having a family to sit down and eat dinner with, I miss those can of soup dinner days. It is the guilty treat I give myself when my husband travels out of town on business. To heck with high sodium levels and whatever else they put in there. When he’s gone, it’s soup and a marathon of Girl TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” that I never seem to have enough time to watch. I curl up on the cranberry-colored couch, a relic from my single days, soon to be replaced by a more marital appropriate version, and zone out.
It’s kind of like visiting an old friend, an evening visit back to singlehood. That’s how I can see it now. Single was like a friend. And of course, no friend is perfect. Being sick and car trouble were two challenges that always vexed me.
As one who has let go, let me tell you — enjoy single while she’s here. You might even get her a box of chocolates this Valentines’ Day to celebrate. After all, no worries that someone else will steal the best pieces first.
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