Get My Sweater Here:
What I Learned From the Worst Valentines Day Ever
He cheated, and had been, for some time, apparently. It couldn’t be played off as a misunderstanding. It was there, plain as day, and he had chosen her. “You don’t need me but she does. It feels good to be the ‘white knight.'” he had said, not that I wanted him after that, of course.
I was just finishing my degree in business and had landed a plum job. I was heading out on my first business trip and had been set up in a five star hotel. I had worked hard for this, both working and going to college full time. Now any joy, any excitement, any sense of accomplishment was overtaken with pain, so deep, so primal, I still can’t articulate it. Betrayed and cast aside, I was in a walking coma.
As luck would have it, the breakup occurred just before Valentine’s Day. I woke up that day feeling all the more sad, hollow, and more alone than ever. I had to get out of my apartment, and into the world of the living; do something besides lay on my bed staring at the ceiling. I decided to go to the mall. Do some retail therapy. Shake a few cobwebs out. It seemed like a good idea.
As I dressed, I realized that my credit cards were maxed out, so actually buying anything big enough to fill the gaping wound in my heart was out of the question. Besides, I knew there wasn’t such a thing anyway.
So there I was, at the mall, no money, just walking, starting to notice it was Valentines Day. Romance was in full bloom. The Godiva counter was mobbed with guys and gals getting sweets for their sweethearts, A girl dressed in a flowing gown passed out roses. Absolutely everyone seemed to be in love. Couples walked holding hands, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.
The sunglass counter seemed a respite; no one buys sunglasses on Valentines Day, afterall. I tinkered around, trying on a pair of sunglasses here and there. The sales lady asked if she could help. I was quite certain she couldn’t. I thanked her anyway, continuing to try one unsuitable pair of glasses after another.
The clerk seemed to be hovering. “You look so sad,” she ventured, “too young to be so sad, what happened?” It somehow seemed safe so I told her the short version, my eyes filling with tears as I spoke.
“I’d like you to think about something,” she said. “You’ve dodged a bullet with this guy. Far better to know now he’s a jerk than after years of marriage. You are young and single. Being single allows you to do things that couples and families can’t do. You can do absolutely anything you want. You don’t have to compromise, you don’t have to put aside your needs or desires. You can read all night long and eat cookies in bed. You can come and go as you please. There are may gifts in being single. When you do find someone to share your life with, that too is a special gift. You will give up some of the gifts of being single because each phase of life is different.
It may seem hard now, but you will heal. One day, you will be glad that this happened. Embrace life. It all goes by so fast. Don’t be someone who looks back to see life has passed them by because they were always wanting something different than what they have.”
Its funny how we think that we will be happier if we are in some other state or circumstance than where we are, right now. Yet when we look up from our stories, and remove all the conditions we place in front of our happiness, most of the time, this moment, right now, is pretty darn good. In these middle years, I have been noticing it more and more. As I do, I feel more and more joyful.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
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