The Blind Bow-Boy’s Buts: Being Single On V-Day

This year, I’m going to be single on Valentine’s Day. I can say that with as much certainty as I can say that the sun’s going to come up tomorrow morning, and the morning after that, which incidentally is the day in question.

Wanna know a secret? This is only the second time since I was sixteen that I’ll be single on Valentine’s Day.

I know I appear very practiced at being single, and if I do say so myself, pretty damn good at it, but actually for the majority of the time I’ve considered myself grown up enough to date, I dated seriously, and serially.

Last year in the middle of a cold, miserable February, I realized I was single on Valentine’s Day. And I wasn’t bothered. I was actually surprised at how unbothered I was, and especially surprised that I didn’t even connect all the dots until Valentine’s Day itself. Which I spent watching TV, crocheting, and having a delicious home-cooked meal and a glass of wine. All by my lonesome.

I get this feeling that this year I’m not going to take it quite so well. Unlike last year, I haven’t been nearly so busy. I’ve been out shopping more than once in the last month. Therefore, I’ve been stared down by display after display of heart-shaped chocolate; roses; and pink, red, or white just about anything (notably M&Ms).

Hey look! There goes the corporate West trying to make me feel bad about myself so I’ll buy shit from them! Somebody stop the presses!

That said, last year my resolve to be single was fresh, shiny, new; something I could approach with zeal and the newly-minted armor of still-sparkling rationalizations.

A year later, the armor’s a little dented, and definitely a little duller. The damage is cosmetic. A couple of well-placed dings: nothing to shatter the breastplate, but plenty to remind me just how much each blow hurt.

Last year, a delicate balance of shiny new philosophy and a distinct lack of romantic interest for or from, well, anybody I knew, turned Valentine’s Day into something I could basically ignore. After all, I was too busy to date anyways.

This year, a marked lack of essays, midterms, and major projects around this time of year, coupled with the realization that, and this is probably going to shock you: there are people (that’s right: people as in plural of person, as in more than one person) in my life that I would want to date, and who would want to date me. Cupid didn’t get his job by being a crappy shot.

Except for the buts.

But, I’m going to South Korea for a year.

But, I have no clue what my plan is after that year is up.

But, I don’t have a good track record with long-distance relationships.

But, I care rather a lot for the people in question, and as such know that they want, need, and deserve way different than me.

I’m getting used to flying solo. In terms of travel, certainly, and in a more general sense. In some ways, I always have been, even when I was in a serious relationship, or what I identified that way at the time. The only constant in my life is change. I’m always leaving town just as I start to feel at home. I am always moving.

This is of paramount importance, the timing especially. Just when I start to feel at home. Because as soon as I start to feel at home, I stagnate. I barely write, I don’t take pictures, I stop dreaming big. I start to settle. In a lot of ways, the time when I need most to leave town is the time when it’s most difficult. The time when, with no effort whatsoever, I could transition into normalcy.

I could do what you’re “supposed” to do. I could get a “real” job, an apartment, a significant other, a car. I could get myself into a groove and stay there. And I could do it the same way I jumped off a cliff. By sheer inertia. Not by fighting to do it, just by stopping fighting against doing it. In a lot of ways, it would be easy, and it would feel good.

But I won’t. I won’t stop fighting. I won’t stop moving. I won’t settle down, and I won’t settle. Not now. Maybe never, but certainly not now.

None of that inherently precludes dating, even dating seriously. Dating with long-term nuptial intent. And who knows? Maybe somebody’s just around the corner who’s got just as powerful a propellant pushing them forward as I have.

But for now I’m going to be single, and I’m going try to ignore all the voices telling me I shouldn’t be, especially on Tuesday. Starting Wednesday, I no longer have to face down millions of dollars worth of candy, flower, and greeting card companies telling me I’m doing it wrong. It’ll just be my family, friends, and society in general that I have to remind that being single is good for me, for now.

Which reminds me, who’s up for half-price chocolate shopping on Wednesday?


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