Today is the first Valentine’s Day I’ve been truly without a significant other in almost 25 years. Before you feel bad for me…don’t.
Love – real love – arrives in many different forms and from lots of different sources.
Everyone knows about romantic love, the love of another man or woman that’s the motivation for thousands of songs, movies, books, and so forth. It’s easily recognizable. Many people feel incomplete without it but most of what we’re taught about love is unrealistic.
Real life rarely meshes with childhood fairy tales or romance novels. Yes, there are those of you out there with perfection (congratulations) but the majority of folks are working with what they got (or nothing at all).
That’s okay…because there are other kinds of love that are just as strong, just as fulfilling, and just as necessary to your happiness (without shoving yourself into lingerie or spending a fortune on the festivities for a single day).
Let’s talk about love, baby.
There’s love from your friends. The love of people who should have been a sibling but weren’t. The kind of people who always have your back, good or bad, and hold back the judgment because they know you top to bottom. Even when they don’t agree with you, they love you, they support you, and they’re just waiting for you to find your footing. Naturally, you want that for them, too. They’re the people you’d rather go to dinner with, the ones who really need lovely bouquets of flowers, and will share *good* chocolate (and maybe a glass of wine) on any day of the year.
There’s love from your children. This is something I never thought I’d have in my youth. A relationship with my grown children that makes me laugh, makes me frustrated, makes me proud, and makes me worry. Things change quickly as your little people grow up. They morph into these fascinating versions of you – and yet, are nothing like you – that trip your heartstrings at the most amazing moments.
There’s love from the virtual world. The love you find through people you’ve never met or mostly interact with on social media or through messages, texts, or emails. These people can (and often do) provide a sort of touch-stone in your daily life and you can’t imagine your life without them in it…as far apart as you are. My assistant, my admins, and my readers fulfill a place in my heart I didn’t know was empty.
There’s love from your pets. I’ve always been a pet person. I currently have two cats and a dog. I’ve lost several of my perfect darlings over the years (it never gets easier) but there’s one thing all of them have in common. They love unconditionally (even if you accidentally step on their little paw). They think you’re amazing (even when you look like hell). They want to love you at your most unlovable. They want to be with you even if you’re feeling bitchy. They offer snuggles and silliness and happiness day after day, year after year. They make things better.
There’s love of self. This is one that took a lot longer for me to recognize. Knowing – and actually believing – I’m worthy of peace, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Giving myself a pat on the back more often than criticism. Accepting I’ll always be a little chubby, a little scattered, and a little less inclined to brush my hair…and it’s okay because I’m chugging through life like a steam engine. Forgiveness of past mistakes. Tolerance of my quirks. Excitement about the future.
Your Patience is Appreciated
If you’re spending V-Day with another person today, I hope they treat you right. I hope they add to (rather than subtract from) your life on the other days of the year. I hope that person makes you smile, makes you laugh, makes you think, and makes you blush. Cherish the ups, be strong through the downs, and remember that every person must put on their own oxygen mask before they save someone else.
I’ve never been much of a fan of this marketing bonanza but for those of you who love it and love posting photos everywhere of your #besthubbyever – be patient with those of us who aren’t like you. Be extra patient with those of us who have ZERO desire to be. You kids have fun!
If you (like me) are spending this V-Day solo – embrace all the love around you. Take comfort in the fact that lots of relationships aren’t perfect behind the scenes, flowers die fast, chocolates don’t last, and no restaurant is worth a three-hour wait while you feel forced to compete with other patrons to be “happiest and most in love” couple.
I’ll be over here writing, listening to music, talking to my girls via phone and text, scratching my dog behind the ears, and enjoying a hot cup of coffee. Those are the only #relationshipgoals I need in my life.
Much love from my little world to yours,