I’ve definitely been way more open regarding my super-duper personal life on my blog lately. I’m not sure why that is, but I say if it feels right, do it.
Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandmother’s death, it also happened to have been my grandfather’s birthday. I always thought it was kind of romantic that she died on his birthday (he died six years before she did). Now that was a couple that really loved each other. The story goes something like this: My grandfather worked at a pharmacy, my grandmother came in one day, and that was it…well at least for him. Apparently she wanted nothing to do with him, but through persuasive action (action that would at this time be considered stalking, and may require a restraining order of sorts) he eventually wore her down and they got married, had babies, and loved each other a lot for a very long time. That was inspiring, and then it was depressing because it got me thinking about Valentine’s Day.
This year I am alone. I’m not going to feign excitement and empowerment, but I will say that I’m fine, I’m not devastated either. Instead of thinking about my current situation, I started thinking about my past.
Last year I spent Valentine’s Day in Miami crying on a treadmill. 2009-2010 had been a really hard time for me. My mom almost died, my job was borderline abusive, and my then boyfriend was about to be shipped back to Israel (he was here on a student visa as he got his MBA) if he didn’t find a job soon. Everything felt hard. The trip was meant to be a stress reliever, but instead the stress caused something entirely un-expected to happen. It caused me to miss my period. I’m not a particularly irresponsible person (and I’m not going to get into the details of my sex life), but I had a friend who had recently gotten pregnant even though she too wasn’t irresponsible, and I was scared. I decided, for the first time in my relationship history to be mature, and allow my boyfriend to actually be my partner. His response was to stop talking to me, to stop looking at me, or touching me…except to make some fairly insensitive remarks. On Valentine’s night he cancelled our dinner reservations so he could nap, and I spent the night running in the empty hotel gym. The next day we went to a nearby Walmart and got a pregnancy test, all was well with the world again. No offspring growing in these loins, and the boyfriend returned to his previously doting self. I, however, did not bounce back so easily, and when we got off the plain in New York that was that; that was the last we ever saw one another.
The year, and boyfriend before that, I spent Valentine’s Day alone. Not because I wasn’t dating someone I cared about, but because he lived 800 miles away. Shortly afterward we broke up because dating long distance proved to be too hard. The hardest breakups to get over are the ones that end without any hard feelings; they just feel infinitely sad and blameless.
The year before that was my first Valentine’s Day alone after a four year relationship ended with lots of pain, big first heartbreak pain. I had fallen out of college and into this relationship and had never been alone as an adult. My entire adult identity at that point was so wrapped up in being a part of a we. I was learning how to be a single me again, and it sucked. It really sucked.
This year, while I’m single, and definitely disappointed at my seeming disaster marked track record, I’m also not mourning anyone. For the first time in many Valentine’s Days I am not hurting because of a relationship. I can’t express how good that simple truth feels.
Over the weekend I went through my contacts and deleted all my exes; their emails and phone numbers erased forever. This wasn’t thought out, or philosophized over in my head, it just felt right. I have this habit of collecting ex-friends, being buds with my exes. Exchanging text messages and emails, and meeting up once or twice a year to catch up. I used to find comfort in that, and thought myself to be extremely mature. Lately though, not so much. I find myself more often than not avoiding calls; leaving emails unanswered and being too busy to grab that coffee. I think the Valentine I gave myself this year was the freedom to let go of the belief that if I cared for someone once, I should care about them forever.
Maybe I’ll never find that lifelong love my grandparents had, maybe I will, but one thing’s for certain I won’t find it in my past…it took some time, but letting go finally felt right, and it finally felt good.
Whole wheat bagel thin with egg whites and lite Swiss cheese
Note to my single self: one lasagna will last way too long
Brown rice pasta with olive oil, garlic, asparagus and scallops