Another Valentine’s Day Again

Another Valentine’s Day Again

So I’ve had a cold for just over a week now. It started on a Thursday afternoon with a vague feeling of scratchiness in the back of my throat and then progressed. And progressed. Until the night before last when, no joke, I googled “Has anyone ever died from a cold?” #DramaQueenMuch? I know.

But even as I was googling, I realized that it wasn’t that I was feeling especially terrible, it was just that I was so tired of feeling not great.

And now with the chocolate covered breath of Valentine’s Day hot in my face, I’m feeling the same kind of sensation. It’s not the being single on Valentine’s Day that’s annoying, it’s the being single on another Valentine’s Day. AGAIN. It’s all the anothers and all the agains. Another birthday. Going to another wedding alone. Another crush that goes nowhere. Hearing that joke again. Asking God the same questions again. Answering the same “Well-what-about-him?”, “Have-you-tried-online?”, “Have-you-prayed-about-it?” questions again.  Ugh! Can I live?! And must I keep on living like this??

But then again…

Sometimes I have to check myself. (And ideally, I would always do it before I wreck myself, but a lot of times, it happens midway through.) With the Voldemort level cold I was fighting, I stepped back and thought about it objectively – yes, my nose was somehow too stuffed for breathing but too leaky for normal human interaction; and yes, embarrassing uncontrollable coughing fits had become part of my morning (and evening) commutes, but in the much grander scheme of things – I was okay. 95% of my body was functioning just fine. And as annoying as my symptoms have been, they are actually the signs of my body fighting back. And that’s a good thing. Because to come this far and then die of a cold… that would be pretty lame.

And so it is with Valentine’s Day. Instead of thinking of and focusing on the one thing that isn’t “working” right now, I’m going to be thankful for the 98% of my life that is actually going pretty well. It’s a good time for me to check myself– Am I happy? Do I have purpose? Am I moving forward? Because if I’m not, if I don’t and if I’m not now; I won’t be, I won’t and I won’t when I’m in a relationship.

As I was saying goodbye to one of my friends the other night she said, “Last single Valentine’s Day!” and I thought “Okay, I’ll double tap that.” (And let’s be real, secretly I hope every Christmas, birthday, Tuesday, lunchtime is my last single one.) but more than that, I hope this is my last “Not-finishing-that-project” Valentine’s Day, I hope it’s my last “Doubting-myself-when-it-counts” Valentine’s Day and maybe my last “Working-a-day-job-and-side-jobbing-my-dream” Valentine’s Day. Because those are things I can actually, practically work towards. And no, they aren’t sexy, but they are signs of my self-worth fighting back against the dark side of this day that would like to keep me fixated on what I don’t have right now. But honestly… it’s okay. I’m okay.

So although, there will be no chocolates and roses for me today, I will be getting dinner and a movie. (AND CAKE!) And I will be spending time with people I love, loving and being loved. And I hope you find a way to do the same. Because, how do you want to remember your last single Valentine’s Day? Moping over what you didn’t have or reveling in all you’ve been given thus far? Because single or not, that’s basically the choice we’ll have every Valentine’s Day. And we might as well start practicing for the future now.

 

 

What I Wouldn’t Give…

What I Wouldn’t Give…

“So don’t go wishing or regretting, there’s no selective way to cull
You can’t change anything, without changing it all.”

I used to live a hypothetical life. I would be sitting at my desk and the sight of another Facebook photo of another wedding or engagement or new baby would usher me into a fugue state where I’d imagine all the ways my life would be different if I just hadn’t done what I did, said what I said, or gone where I did. And I’d kick myself for all the things I was missing out on. I’d tell myself “Look! Look how much better our life could have been.” As I pointed out a shadowy hunk of a husband and the most adorable (and well-behaved) children you ever did see. And look at that – I wasn’t a receptionist… I was everything I ever wanted to be! And successful. Very successful. And very happy. So stupidly happy that the Shadow-Man and I would sit around with my friends and just laugh. Toasting to sunsets and terraces and a life lived correctly.

I used to visit that life a lot, but I don’t let myself anymore. Not because it wasn’t real, but because of the parts of it that were.

I realized that I was building a perfect life by taking everything that I love about my life now – this city, my friends, my opportunities – and adding all the things I wish I had on top. But that math doesn’t work.

Ten years ago I was prepping to move to Australia, if I had gotten married ten years ago – that probably wouldn’t have happened (bye-bye Australian friends and experiences). Five years ago, I was prepping to move to New York, if I was married with kids that probably wouldn’t have happened (bye-bye New York friends and experiences). One year ago I was making videos that made Shonda Rhimes a fan of mine – if I was married with kids, that definitely wouldn’t have happened (bye-bye Scandal friends, experiences and opportunities). Everything about my life today is built on everything that has (and hasn’t) happened up until now. So for me to have any of those imagined things, I would have had to give up something real. So I ask myself: what would I trade? Which of my friends, strengths and dreams would I give up?

And it turned out that the list of what I wouldn’t give was pretty long.

So I try not to torture myself with hazy imaginings of my “if only” husband and children. They’re amazing, but they have no place here. Because if they did, I’d have no place here. I don’t know where I’d be or even who I’d be. Or what I’d be wishing for from there. Because no life is perfect. But mine is actually pretty good when I’m not focused on what I don’t have.

Why Space?

Why Space?

I’m fascinated with the idea of space lately. Not in a “Star Trek” kind of way; it’s a Why-do-I-feel-this-way? kind of way. I’ve been reading the Creation account in Genesis and focusing on how much space God created before He filled it. The sky. The Oceans. Land. He created them empty and then He filled them. And I think He does the same thing with us.

I left an event the other night and as I was walking to the train I suddenly felt profoundly lonely. It was like I crossed 5th Avenue directly into the Swamps of Sadness. So I tried to rally some of my hang-out regulars, but no one was available. So with no one else to talk to, I had to settle for talking with God. Which is annoying because He could fix this, He could fill this space with someone, but He hasn’t.

So I told Him how I felt and then we walked up and down the aisles of Rite Aid looking for something to sadness eat. And then I went home and watched part of “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2”. And life went on.

But don’t worry; this is not the part where I say how I realized that God wants to be the one to fill all the empty spaces in my life. And that He’s all that I need, Hallelujah.  Because I don’t think that’s true. Not in the way we typically “encourage” single people to believe. How often have we heard “God wants you to be fully satisfied in Him first and then…” or some variation of that? As if God is the insecure If-I-can’t-have-you-no-one-else-can type. But He’s not.

In Genesis 2:18, before the fall, when all was literally right with the world and everything was good, God said it was NOT good for man to be alone. Even though man had Him. God knew there was space there. Because He put it there. He could have wired humanity to need nothing but Him, and then He and Adam could have had the best bromance ever for all of eternity. But He didn’t. He left space for relationship. And then He filled it – with someone else. So does He want to fill the space Himself? Yes. But not always WITH Himself. In the same way He didn’t create the sky to just sit in it Himself, there are spaces He’s left in our lives for things other than just Him.

So that emptiness we sometimes feel, that space where we’re like “God, I do love you, but I still feel like something’s missing.” That’s not a bad thing. It sucks, but I think it’s actually a good sign. God doesn’t make space to leave it empty. So if there’s space, it’s there to be filled. And He will fill it.

It’s not a question of if, it’s just a matter of how and when.