So today is Valentine’s Day (I’m only informing you of this in case you are one of those people who live under rocks), and as with every year, it’s not a day I’ve been looking forward to. Why? Because once again I find myself in the position of observer of other women’s treats, and not my own. Only this year (fortunately) I am not currently working, therefore I can stay in my house and not have to witness women in the workplace receiving surprise bouquets of flowers, balloons and stuffed toys.
Some might say I’m one of those bitter singles, and truthfully I wouldn’t say I’m there yet, but I’m on my way. In fact, let me be extremely honest with you right now: I have never been in what most may class as a ‘proper long-term relationship’. I have had what I call ‘involvements.’ The longest involvement lasted about 10 months, and that itself was bloody hard work for me. I know relationships generally take a lot of effort anyway, but this was too much on my part and wasn’t worth it. Although we were together during Valentine’s Day, he wasn’t the type who even slightly acknowledged it, so I may as well have been fully single. Conveniently, all the other involvements I have been in have managed to end before or begin after V-Day.
As I get older I’m becoming less and less hopeful about finding love and one day having the family that in my younger days I assumed I would have, but everyone else around me seem to think it’s going to happen and when it does it will be big. One of the blogs I follow is The Hopeful Romantic, and in light of this day that others are celebrating, I have decided to ask her why she is so positive and remains hopeful about love and romance. She says:
Why am I still hopeful?
It’s a good question… I’m hopeful because I have to be. I’ll explain. When a significant relationship broke up last year I went through an extended period of depression. I have always had a positive outlook on life (albeit one tempered by logic). My spirit has always been light and in that period after the breakup I lost that woman. This is a process for me. This is about me being real and aware of the facts of life, and yet saying that I still believe in LOVE. And it can be really, really hard, but to steal a phrase: “You’ve got to look further than what you see with your eyes.”
I know that in the run-up to Valentine’s Day it can be particularly difficult as a single person. You can’t turn around without being bombarded with messages about how wonderful it is to be in love. The shops are full of hype and commercialisation and yet when you don’t have a ‘significant other’ all you want to do is to be part of the spectacle. And for the most part, it is spectacle… Valentine’s day is the day when couples pack into an overstuffed restaurant for a ‘romantic meal’, when men pick up that last sad bunch of flowers from the petrol station, and when women up and down the country eyeball the tacky underwear purchase and wonder where the receipt is . But Valentine’s Day is also the day when the non-demonstrative man steps out of his comfort zone because he knows that his wife loves and appreciates his effort, when people who can’t always get that time they need spend the evening cooking a meal together, and they day when small unexpected gestures are really appreciated. Yes, Valentine’s Day is, in reality, just a day like any other – life doesn’t stop because you do or don’t have another person with you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being alone at this time of year or in fact at any time of year. It won’t kill you. Everyone needs some alone time to establish themselves, to know what they want and to ensure that if they are looking for a ten out of ten that they are bringing their ten out of ten game with them. The ‘wrong’ lies in the sadness that comes from completely giving up hope of meeting that special person that compliments you. Being hopeful is about doing you. Maintaining you. Loving yourself as a whole person – because you are a pretty special person.
Being a Hopeful Romantic is about me trying to encourage people in a little way – in the way that people I’ve stumbled on at just the right time have encouraged me. As I’ve said, it isn’t always easy. As time goes on you do start to wonder. Will it? I think when we focus on what we don’t have we start to lose sight of all the great stuff that we do have and we almost repel that very thing we are seeking. It’s not over until you’re dead, so don’t stop living!
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” — Audrey Hepburn