Let’s be honest, there are some days when it’s really very hard to sail through life in your single boat. Going on a date with two friends as the third wheel, sitting at the children’s table during family dinners, being asked why you’re still single when you’re such a catch…and then there’s Valentine’s Day. Or, what my friend Laura likes to call “Single’s Awareness Day.” No dance partner for you or companion to share spaghetti and meatballs with in Lady and Tramp style. Perhaps you’ll watch some sort of violent movie on HBO with a bowl of popcorn instead—no, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Yes, that will do.
Or will it? Have we reached a point in our lives, regardless of age, that we can only find love through romance and appreciative intimacy through sex? Regardless of our single/relationship status, are we limiting ourselves to otherwise untapped resources if we cannot move beyond this type of thinking? This single thinks so.
But where can we corner the market in love and intimacy? Where can we find it in our lives, in addition to a partner? How about the love we share for our children? Our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and even our students can share our love. And then there is the love we have for ourselves, which we need to have both an understanding of and appreciation for before we can even consider being able to reciprocate it to someone else.
It is easy to look at love and intimacy in terms of gain and loss, regardless of the nature of the relationship. This coming Tuesday, for instance, our family will be putting down our twelve year-old dog, Molly. Molly has spent the past nine months undergoing surgeries, radiation, and chemo to battle the cancer which has been growing like a golf-ball sized mound of hate over her left eye. Molly has known me for half my life, from when I was in middle school to when I graduated college. She knows my secrets, successes, disappointments, insecurities, and dreams. She has introduced me to strangers on walks, drank my orange juice when left unattended, and eaten Q-tips out of the garbage can. If given the chance to share this all with her again, I would. Her love, our relationship, was my gain.
So my advice to you, dear reader, is this. Keep your eyes and most importantly your heart open this Valentine’s Day. You are sure to find some source of love, and do not discredit it, no matter how slight it may seem. February 14th, onward. <3