You are all so welcome.
Today, the day of Cupid, you are not with me … so that is my Valentine’s Day gift to you.
On the day when love allegedly conquers all, I offer you up eternal happiness, away from me and the few things I bring to the table.
Humor. Friendship. Understanding.
Yeah, that’s about it.
I’m alone on yet another’s Valentine’s Day and I’m perfectly fine with that.
I’ve made my bed and I get to sleep in it … alone, spread out, hogging my own sheets and pillows.
Even when it’s not.
I may not believe in love anymore, but it’s not like I don’t think about it.
My 50 years are scattered with a plethora of failed romances, broken hearts, destroyed relationships. It’s also dotted with missed chances, lost smiles, and even more broken hearts.
And for that I am sorry. Truly sorry.
As such, I’ve waved the white flag on chasing/pining for/having a significant other.
It’s been more than 10 years.
And I’d say 99.9 percent of the time I don’t miss it.
I do what I want, when I went, how I want and I answer to nobody but myself.
I’d buy myself chocolates, but I weigh enough as it is and I don’t want to create any expectations for myself.
A romantic dinner, alone … A bottle of wine, alone … Suddenly tipsy, I take myself home … alone.
Well, you get the idea.
Valentine’s Day is not for me.
But it’s not that I don’t believe in love.
At least, I did.
I look back over these last 50 years and, for the most part, I do cherish the times I was in love and the happy memories that were made during those segments of my life.
It doesn’t matter that, technically, each and every one failed … often leading to tears, heartbreak, heartache.
The tears dry, the heartbreak mends, the heartache fades over time.
So now that I’m — as I’m wont to say, in “The October Weekend” of my life — I can look back over a lifetime of loves and appreciate each of them for what they really wore.
Wait, I mean, opportunities to grow.
My first kiss was in fourth grade and it was nothing more than pure peer pressure.
I remember the girl, I remember the place, but I barely remember the kiss.
Sorry, no Winnie Cooper “Wonder Years” moment here.
Just the facts, ma’am … who, what and where.
The next relationship I remember was my eighth grade year.
Hormones raging, mind spinning, hearts pounding and getting to second base was more important off the baseball field than on it. Talk about confusion.
High school was where love really introduced itself and all it had to offer, the great and the bad.
Puppy love with the girl who sat in front of me in Mr. Dexter’s Civics class my sophomore year.
First love a year later with a girl from another school.
The funny thing about those two is that both moved away from me in the middle of our relationships. That’s heartbreak, right there … When you first start to innocently believe in forever and get dealt with the crushing forces of reality.
The next six years were a flurry of relationships … some I look back fondly on, some are names I couldn’t recall with a gun to my head … lasting anywhere from one night to a few months.
I think it’s fair to say that I really and truly did love some of those people during that time.
And some of those people still tug at my heart. You quite likely know who you are, if you are in that category.
A marriage soon followed. Seven years. A house, a child, a future.
She deserved better.
Because a failed marriage soon followed.
I won’t lie. The next few years after that were an alcoholic-induced and drug-created haze, divided up amongst some poor choices and least proudest moments.
Even with the scattering of good “opportunities” I couldn’t take advantage of anything to pull myself out. I was far too lost down the rabbit hole.
One – an absolute angel, from a least expected place – was put in front of me to save my life, and she did.
I’m certain of it.
But it wasn’t meant to be, either.
None of them were.
Depending on which edict you follow, there is one true love for everybody out there. Have I met mine? Did I blow that opportunity? Or is fate playing a cruel game?
I don’t know. I think I met her and lost her. But that’s just me.
So, having been burned, and having self-destructed a few relationships myself, I wrote them off for all of time.
I was done chasing. I was done with the game.
I was 40 years old.
Game, set, match.
Only I wasn’t the winner. I was just done playing.
And I haven’t played in over a decade since.
So it’s Valentine’s Day, 2017.
If we once loved, you and I, then look around you. If somebody else is there and your heart sings, then you’re welcome. I was just a stepping stone to today’s bliss.
If you are like me, alone, on this Valentine’s Day, I at least hope you can look back and find some positives from yesterday’s relationships and hold them close. Even with me.
We’re born into this world ready to be loved and certainly deserving of it.
Sometimes, though, life – and love — just doesn’t work out.
I’m OK with that.
At least 99.9 percent of the time.