Friday, February 8, 2008

Valentine's Day Reality-Test

Valentine’s Day: The romance, the chocolates, the candlelight--The loneliness and disappointment! Last night, I went to a meeting of colleagues and at the end, the organizer asked, “Do you all have plans for Valentine's Day… because our next meeting is set for February 14. Should we reschedule?"

I looked around the room and saw panic flicker across the faces assembled. Then the panic gave way to a ghostly resignation. Most members admitted that they had nothing to do on Valentine's, and so they planned to attend the meeting. I could almost hear unhappy thoughts travel from one person to the next--I never have Valentine’s plans; She's so lucky--she's still married; I wish I had someone in my life...

In truth, a whole lot of people spend Valentine’s Day feeling the pinch of isolation, without a partner, without romance, without a date.

Here are some statistics:

  • Twenty-seven percent of all adults live alone
  • 51 percent of adults are unmarried
  • 13.7 million people are widowed
  • Ten percent of adults are divorced (and alone)

Of the 49 percent Americans who are married, many are miserable. In fact, a study of 2000 adults just completed last month revealed that 59 percent of women would leave their husbands if they could afford to, and almost as many men would dump their wives if they had the guts. Sixty percent of all men report having had affairs, and 40 percent of women.

As the data shows, most people aren’t blissfully partnered. And even those who have decent relationships don’t necessarily do romance well. Let’s face it: most people are pretty lame when it comes to sweeping the beloved off the feet. Only a very, very few actually get it—actually succeed in being wildly romantic. How many great partners do stupid things on Valentine’s Day, or just do the typical flowers and chocolate thing because they don’t have the romance gene and can't think of what else to do?

So back to Valentine’s Day… it’s a huge setup! I admit that I personally love the day because I’m a chocolate fiend and a Libra with a score of planets ruled by Venus—I can’t help being romantic--and I’m lucky enough to have a Libra mate. But, I do think that collectively, we would be better served if Valentine’s Day included more of us.

In a country where so many of us live alone or live lonely, we need a holiday celebrating our own wonder—a “Cherish Your Own Self” day. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be depressing. We can make it a special time to love and care for ourselves, to pamper ourselves with treats and flowers, to remember how lucky we are to be alive and to be the unique and wonderful beings that we are. So don't pretend Valentine's doesn't exist come Thursday--write yourself a love poem, take a long bath, get yourself a present, and make a real effort to appreciate yourself like never before --no kidding!
Best Wishes,
Hiyaguha, The Life-Change Coach

1 comment:

Dede said...

Hiyaguha, Although I spent 9 years after my divorce feeling satisfied with my work and my family, there was always a bit of a hole in my life. Those Valentine's Days I always focused on everyone I loved in my life and making sure that I told them on that day. But I wanted to add another vision to your Valentine's commenets...I was 53 when I divorced and I never really had a vision for being part of a 'couple' again until a friend visiting me asked if I wanted him to be on my 'search committee' and I said, yes. Something in that opening to possibility led to a significant shift. Within a few months, I was contacted by a man I had met through a business conversation with my parents and that led to emails and phone calls and something wonderful happened while I kept my heart open to possibility. I fell in love! At the age of 63 -- and really for the first time, I feel that I have come home. I now have been married for almost 3 years to this affectionate, loving, appreciative man. So beating the odds of being 'killed by a terrorist' is quite possible, afterall. But living with an open heart and letting go of 'results' was my biggest challenge. For that I needed a lot of support and encouragement (and therapy) over the years. I remember saying to one coach, "I'm just too much for men." And he replied "Not for the RIGHT man..."

D Osborn
Lincoln, RI