My Evolving Thoughts on Valentine’s Day & Being Single

I’ve blogged now for more than a decade. I have written ALL the Valentine’s Day postings. Angry, disaffected, anti-commercial, Catholic, whatever. Been there, done that.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day and now I guess I don’t care. I’m sad some people “need” Valentine’s to keep the romance alive. I can almost see their impending break-up. I’m happy kids enjoy it. I dislike big business profiting off it. Enough said.

In life and in love, I tend to be a romantic. I always will be. Fancy meals for no reason, unprompted kindnesses, attention to detail. I don’t need a day for it, and I wish others didn’t either. I’ve always been the thoughtful girlfriend, fond of surprise dinners and other things. I’ve never understood how people can let that slip away in their relationships.

Tree in Sicily by Djacoby.

Tree in Sicily by Djacoby.

Some of Us Learned the Hard Way

For those of us who’ve had the opportunity to cheat death in any way — serious accidents, surviving disease or illness, that sort of thing — there is a very clear lesson we often learn: This moment is the only one that counts. Then the one after it, and the one after that.

Memories are nice but they mean fuck all if they’re all ya got.

In a relationship, if your best days are behind you because you’re doing nothing to honour it in the present, you might as well call it quits. You’re done. It’s over.

If that idea makes your heart sink through your belly, then lucky you, there’s hope. It’s time to sit down and make love a priority. Date night is critical. Romance is critical. Valuing each other is critical. Surprise and fun and trust, all critical.

Some folks can’t understand that and don’t know how to make ’em happen. I don’t know how to help those people.

When Single Becomes the Status Quo

God knows I’m single and I have been for a long time now. My last two relationships really fucked me up in that I sort of lost who I was and didn’t know how to get back to myself. Other things had brought that mix of phenomena into my life too — job woes, financial troubles, serious injuries, other things.

I had a lot of shit to solve, and solving those things while involved with someone — oy, that’s a tall order. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t write, I wasn’t photographing, I wasn’t even cooking creatively. I was surviving life, not living it.

I never intended to stay single my whole time here in Victoria, but that’s somehow been the case. At first, I needed the space, but then in the last year, my thinking was “I don’t want anyone to hold me back.”

For a while there I had been telling myself that this life dream trip of mine was just an elaborate means of saving money. It was a last and desperate step. Would I have easily fallen for someone and opted out of the harder route of anteing up for an adventure of a lifetime to instead cop out and live with someone for savings and love and steamy sex?

I can’t tell ya. Like I say, I’m a romantic. There’s no telling how much I’d think a good relationship trumps an adventure. I do know this time I’ve been using for myself this year has really helped me remember what’s important to ME. What I want out of life, what I want to see, and what I think I owe myself.

Now five years around the world isn’t a “last and desperate step”. It’s my greatest and boldest step. It’s awesomeness wrapped in optimism and dipped in unbelievable with a side of fuck-yeah.

Norman hunting tower in the countryside of Erice, Sicily, by Terry Feuerborn in 2011.

Norman hunting tower in the countryside of Erice, Sicily, by Terry Feuerborn in 2011.

Acing The Art of Being Older, Wiser, And Not Giving A Fuck

I do know one thing about the loves I’ve had. I don’t think there’s a man I’ve been with in my lifetime that could be the man I’d need today. I’ve changed too much. I think few are the relationships that let us continue growing and becoming better people. It’s hard to have two trajectories rising at the same rate, you know what I mean?

Singleness isn’t the end of the world. It’s harder to handle at the beginning, I think, but it can be wonderful, too, if you don’t make yourself seek reward or happiness through others.

I think writing makes that easier for me. I’m able to use this — my words — as a filter for my life and my memories. That’s the gift of writing. It’s the existential pause button that lets me stop and sift through it all. Without it, I’m not sure I’d find the same enjoyment out of life. I’m not sure I want to find out.

My Valentine’s Isn’t Special

Today is another overworked-Steff weekend for me. I need to put THIS writing-for-self aside and write for the big machine. Money makes my world go around. Or rather, will make me go around the world.

I still need to remind myself of why I toil so often and so long. If it’s not work, it’s personal projects in preparation of my time abroad. Yesterday, I found new inspiration as I pored over photographs of Sicily, wondering if it might be where I am a year from now. I can’t fathom what life is like, living in an area so old and steeped with passion and tradition. As a writer, it makes my heart swell. What a Valentine’s gift to myself that would be.

But gone are the days when I’ll rail against Valentine’s Day. Make it what you want it to be.

Self-love, romantic love, love of the moment, love of nature — it’s all the basis of a life well-lived. Whether you’re alone or single, a wonderful meal, a gorgeous sunset, some time in a park, a great movie — all these things can be savoured without being a part of the big marketing machine.

Whatever you do, whoever you’re with, wherever you go, I hope you do something this weekend that reminds you of what your passions in life are. And if you’re not pursuing them, it’s time to ask yourself why not, and remember that it ain’t ever too late to wake up from oblivion.

Maybe that’s what Valentine’s Day should be to you. It kind of is for me.