It's that time of year again. February 14th is tomorrow.
Depending on who you are, one of several thoughts come to mind: the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, spending time with the one you love, giving or receiving roses and chocolates, or loathing the reminder that you're still single.
This year, my Valentine's Day will be spent in a different way: celebrating my friend Bill's birthday.
It's a day of mixed emotions for me. While I do cherish my friendship and know I'll have a good time with good people, it won't be a stereotypical holiday for me. There will be no dozen roses. There will be no cards... no boxes of chocolates. No, there won't be that kiss or those three words everyone longs to hear.
Then again, I've never had a Valentine's Day similar to those fantasies.
Last year, I was just becoming single again around this time. Some people might think of that as a sad moment, but for me it was a relief. The rocky three-year relationship had taken its toll on me and my life. I felt more boxed in than a Whitman's Sampler. Now, I'm free or that episode of my life. But with that freedom comes a certain amount of loneliness and resentment.
Everyone wants to be loved. Some people go to extremes to have it. During moments of desperation, we forsake our own happiness... our individuality... for a pair of arms to wrap around us and feel momentarily comforted. We forget the negative aspects of bad relationships in the hope that there is a silver lining to the dark, gloomy cloud.
We forget what love is.
Love isn't about gifts of roses and chocolate. It isn't candlelit dinners for two. It isn't a house with 2.5 children and a white picket fence. Love is comfort. It's not needing to explain yourself a million times or striving for that little reassuring word or action. It's unconditional support and nurturing. It can't be wrapped with a bow. It can't be asked for.
In my life, I have felt love. I have been in love. Though it can be fleeting at times, it's always a possibility... but never a guarantee. I honestly believe everyone has a chance at love if they keep themselves open to the possibility. It just happens.
Tomorrow, I'll be surrounded by it. Perhaps not love in the romantic sense, but in that of true friendship. Sometimes, we all forget that our friends hold a certain level of love for us and that kind of love is far less fragile. I may not be arm and arm with my soul mate, but that doesn't mean it has to be a miserable day. Good friends, good music, good food. Perhaps a cocktail. That's far better than an evening alone with one person whom you know isn't right for you and you pray won't have another violent outburst.
If you're involved with that special someone, be sure to let them know tomorrow just how much they mean to you. If you're not, remember that you still have people in your life willing to shower love on you if you give them the time of day. Perhaps if you keep that positive outlook, you just might find yourself dangerously close to someone perfect for you before the night is over...