Since the time I was in high-school, I have told people that I was training to be the “crazy ol’ cat lady” who lives down the street, alone, with stacks of newspaper, and dozens of cats. I spent most of my time in my room (grounding me would have been pointless). I was on the high school paper and marching band (which says plenty in and of itself). I never went to a dance or party, never talked to boys on the phone (or girls for that matter). I didn’t grow out of it during college either. I wasn’t one of the cute girls that guys engaged in “intellectually stimulating discussions” with hopes of “studying” later.
At this point, to say I was a late bloomer would be an understatement. Yet, at the risk of being exploitive to my pathetic tale, my social ineptness went beyond this point. I turned thirty without having a boyfriend … ever. Not a serious boyfriend, not a unserious boyfriend, not so much a single date. After college some family members even asked if I was gay!
I wasn’t gay, or a nun, or repressed by my parents. I had simply perfected the art of invisibility. Solitude was freedom to me; or at least, control and security. Needless to say, I have spent quite a number of Valentine’s Days stag.
Valentine’s Day can be a nuisance to loners and the jilted. I never personally had anything against Valentine’s Day. Being a female, I like the chocolate and hearts thing. I just never had much to celebrate since I was always single. Over the years I’ve found that it takes a little extra effort to pass the holiday alone without wanting to rig a crossbow as a cupid and shoot ones self in the heart. There are a few tips I can share from my experience in the “lonely-hearts club.”
Watch a Violent Movie: Nothing gets the mind off a broken-heart like watching one get pulled out of someone’s gory chest by an alien. If your scorned, pretend the vic is your ex. This works for other holidays as well.
Get a Pet: I learned from one of my older brothers that no one can be down when they repeat to themselves “puppies and kittens, puppies and kittens.” Pets listen and don’t talk back, they relieve stress, they’re always happy to see you and have been known to travel thousands of miles to return to their owners. That’s loyalty. All for the price of some kibble and an occasional vet visit. They can also make a good conversation piece or wingman should you decide to get back up on the horse and try and pick-up a new human companion. As I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m a cat person, but I only have one, not dozens. And no, I don’t dress her up in pet outfits. In my opinion that crosses the line of mental illness.
Have a Hobby: It can be something you do on your own or with a group. It could just for fun or it could become a professional career. Anything you that you enjoy and holds your interest will get your mind off an aching heart. I like to take road trips. Once I took a drive to the breathtaking Oregon coast to see some two thousand year old tree trunks. The real thing is much more beautiful than pictures.
Spruce-Up: Just because you have nowhere to go doesn’t mean you have to veg in your robe or boxers testing how long you can go with out a shower. In fact, a bath can be an art form. Add anything from a cheap bottle of bubbles to a new hot tub. Comfortable attire is fine as long as it’s not out of the hamper and it’s in good enough condition to donate to your local clothing charity.
Decorate: There’s no escaping it. No matter how much you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and shout “la, la, la!;” chances are, there’s a researcher in Antarctica working on a computer with a heart picture for a desktop background. So embrace it. Holidays give a sense of movement to the calendar and keep each day from running into the next.
Have a nice meal: You don’t want to be eating condensed soup on any holiday. Order in, take out, or dust off your cookbook and cook it your self. A savory meal can lift your spirits even if it’s eaten over a storage box in the new apartment you moved into after you’ve left your ex.
Call Your Mother: This doesn’t have to be your actual mother. Love has many forms. Talk to someone you look up to, someone who’s advice you value. Most people love to socialize and will appreciate the call. Even if you are as anti-social as I was, you may find you actually enjoyed talking to another living person.
P.S. I recommend doing this after eating in order to be in the best possible mindset. A person’s outlook and judgment tend to improve along with their blood sugar. You also don’t want to get hungry or have to cut your conversation short if it goes longer than you thought.
Have a Drink: If you go to a singles club, you have to either pay for a cab, or go with a group and decide who’s going to taxi everyone else (woo-hoo!). A benefit of not being attached to someone is that you don’t have to flip a coin to see who’s the designated driver if you go out on the town. It’s my impression that most people at the bars are already on a date anyway. Stay home. Everything in moderation, of course, but a glass of quality spirits is a nice indulgence to polish the night off.
P.S. I recommend doing this after talking on the phone so that you are in your best judgment and don’t dial any numbers you and the other party may regret.
Take heart: Even if you don’t have a partner at the moment, things change. No one was as convinced as I was that there was no night in shining armor (or fair maiden). Nevertheless, even my story has a happy ending. I now have a valentine that I’ve been seeing for almost two years. He’s several years younger than me, and my family now jokes that I’m a “cougar.” All I had to do was be social and comment on his baseball cap, and that gave him the courage to come up to me at a later time. He’s been my sweetheart ever since.
Finally, count your blessings. Being older and wiser when you fall in love means you can bypass the drama. You know when something is a deal breaker, and when to accept the other person as a fallible human being. Even if your heart was broken, your past love may have introduced you good friends or given you your children. At the very least you know what to avoid so that you will have a better relationship the next time around. So, tell someone you love them, and Happy Anti-Valentines Day everyone.