For more than 20 years I have hated Valentine’s Day. I say more than 20 even though I am more than 30 because I am pretty sure I loved Valentine’s Day as a kid. Then again, as a kid you don’t worry that the candy is going to make you fat and you were pretty much guaranteed a valentine from everyone in your class.
Four years ago, I had a boyfriend, and still managed to mess up Valentine’s Day. Three years ago, I was in the Poconos, with Bridie and her boyfriend, texting the Republican. Two years ago I promised not to hate the day, but still ended up drunk and sad, and then last year, well, last year was a blur, so I’m guessing more alcohol was involved.
This year was different. As the day grew closer I noticed my animosity didn’t grow; my mood didn't sour. I didn’t scoff at any of the thousands (yes thousands) of emails about Valentine’s Day specials, I didn’t fret about being out in NYC the Saturday night before, heck, I even wore red on the big day. I didn’t want to jinx my attitude, but I did begin to wonder if accepting that I was going to be single for life also released Valentine’s Day’s hold over me.
Still, part of me was convinced the lovefest couldn’t last. Part of me was waiting for the tears and self-hatred that always comes on February 14.
Now, earlier this year (or maybe it was last year) I made Rifka (a friend I met while trying to find a new best single girlfriend) sign-up with me for a Valentine’s Day Single’s Run. If anything was going to shake my bliss, surely being in a room of sweaty singles on the most romantic day of the year would do it.
Except, it didn’t. I enjoyed the run. Laughed with some strangers. Rifka and I got hit on by a couple of guys who bought us a round of drinks, it was actually a lot of fun.
And as I stood there, overhearing other conversations, women complaining about being alone and sad and just wanting somebody – anybody – I felt so relieved. I wasn’t angry or sad that I didn’t have a boyfriend. I wasn’t questioning my worth because this guy was hitting on me and not someone I perceived as better that was hitting on someone else across the bar. I didn’t feel rejected, later, when that guy started hitting on someone else, and I didn’t feel like a loser when Rifka and I cut out to grab burritos on our way home.
Instead, I felt incredibly lucky.
It was a Valentine’s Day miracle.