Valentine’s without the valentine

OK, cats and kittens, I’m going to steal a page from the book of my illustrious colleague Tricia Summers. I too would like to use this space to talk about love, since it’s Valentine’s Day and all.

But if you’re looking for something about the science behind the emotion, you should pick up a copy of last Friday’s paper, because Tricia did that better than I ever could. Instead, I’m going to talk about not being in love.

It goes like this: I’m single, and I have been all my life. So yes, that means I’m a virgin—yes, I’ve never been kissed—and no, I’m not really sure why any of that is, other than my various severe personality defects and hygiene issues. (I’m kidding—I think.) There doesn’t seem to be any one reason for my singleness. Dating just hasn’t happened for me yet. And you know what, dear reader? I’m OK with that.

In our society, I sometimes feel a pressure that says you have to become attached to one person, and that if you aren’t, you’re somehow defective.

But there’s a lot of love in my life. I have family members I couldn’t live without, and friends whom I adore. Yes, those are different types of love from a grand, sweeping romance, but my life is still the richer for them. On most days, they ensure that I don’t want for anything.

Of course, some days are different. One of my excellent housemates just got engaged to her wonderful longtime boyfriend, and I’m honestly so happy for them I think I might break something. But on some (infrequent) days, I want what they have so badly I can’t stand it.

I wonder what’s wrong with me, and why I’m alone. I wonder if that will ever change. I fear it won’t.

But once I’ve concluded my boring pity party, I remember how generally lucky I am. I remember all the things in my life that make me happy—like laughing with dear friends, having dinner with my parents and sister and working at this humble paper—and I realize that I need to stop whining.

What more could a boyfriend really add to that list, one that already warms the cockles of my heart—and what a strange expression that is—so well?

Thanks to my extended family, I have been given examples of several different lifestyles. We have four married couples, three single women and two divorcés (both of whom are currently engaged or dating).

As of the last time I talked to them, they are all—as far as I can tell—pretty happy. I feel perfectly sanguine about following any of their paths. Indeed, I would consider myself lucky to do so well as each of them has.

As I write this, my music player has put on the Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four.” I think it would be an amazing thing to have somebody to grow old with like that, renting cottages in the Isle of Wight and naming grandchildren and what have you.

But I don’t think my life will be empty or worthless if that doesn’t happen for me. It certainly isn’t now.

In conclusion: Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all, single and attached. I plan to spend the big night drinking with my housemates. I hope you’ll be doing something that’s equally as enjoyable for you.

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