February 14, 2011
Things I’ve Learned on My Path to Love - A Valentine’s Day Reflection
I have a complicated relationship with Valentine’s Day. When I was growing up, I lived in a predominately Jewish area and it seemed like just another peripheral holiday I didn’t celebrate, like Easter. I loved the candy that came along with these holidays, but aside from that, they didn’t really impact my life. In college, where hooking-up-consistently was about as committed as one could get, Valentine’s Day was another excuse to use our fake IDs on a weekday. Then it became the day a relationship started and so for a few years it had extra meaning and sanctimony. When we broke up, I dreaded Valentine’s Day more than I dreaded stepping on a scale my first year of college. But the day finally came and to ignore my heartache, that year I went with some friends to Lucent L’Amour which is an art/music festival-of-sorts put on by the Los Angeles Burning Man affiliates and I had a great time. PS – if you ever need to get your mind off something, I assure you there is no better way than to do something connected with Burning Man.
But now a few years later, I’ve settled into appreciating the Day for what it is – a cheesy highly manufactured greeting card driven holiday that just also happens to be a great excuse to say I love you. No matter what, I’m still a big believer in love and any excuse to let it hang on your sleeve is a good one.
A year ago tonight, Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday night and wanting to live up the salad days of my youth, I insisted on a raucous night out on the town. With two of my closest girlfriends, I went out and a hit up a few spots before ending up at The Roger Room. We joined some men at a booth where one of my friends, Martinique, met a boy who is now her current boyfriend. We all went back there this Saturday night to commemorate the occasion. A year ago, Martinique and I were commiserating about how miserable dating in LA can be because men have too many choices; this time I was sitting across from a deliriously happy couple. Her life has completely changed and I couldn’t be happier for her. But of course, I couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of our lives as I saw across from her. Have I made dating progress in the past year? Or have I just wasted a lot of time because after another year of dating, I’m in the exact same place I was last year, literally?
If you date and don’t end up in a relationship, have you just squandered precious time and energy?
Of course, in some ways, it would appear that I am in the exact same place I was a year ago. But when you factor in life outside of dating, this year has been full of so many good changes, it would be hard to recount. And of course, all those amazing career advancements, and emotional maturations, and memories made with family and friends over the last year have greatly informed my character and so I couldn’t possibly be in the same place. But then I think of all the time spent over the last year going out with creeps or talking on the phone or checking my phone for texts. What does it all amount to? That time was time away from things I love, and of course when you’re in love and looking back on that, you can easily say it was well worth it to get to where you are. But when you’re in between relationships, it’s hard to see what the point of it all is. So, I’m spending today, trying to remind myself that I have in deed learned quite a bit in Cupid’s arena this year and perhaps you have too.
For all the lovers out there, one of my favorite love poems by e.e.cummings for you:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
For everyone else, I offer Ten Things I Have Learned in the Last Year From Dating
1. Check, double check, and triple check before hitting send on your iPhone when you are texting the words Devon asked Beth out! What a hussy! to your other friend Lacey and not directly to Beth.
Proof that it is not all for naught I guess. Here’s to hoping I learn even more on my journey this year. Happy Valentine’s Day!