To Be Or Not To Be (Happy That Is)

Saturday was Valentine’s Day which always brings out a range of emotions in people from absolute joy to feigned indifference to downright loathing (usually depending on what your Facebook relationship status currently shows). I wasn’t going to do a blog post about this holiday because it just seemed like something that everyone would expect from a blog written by and for single adults, but then a lot has been going on in my life since I last blogged, mainly the fact that I got super busy for about 2 weeks straight with fundraisers, cat sitting, dinner parties, church activities and a new part time job at a very popular Omaha Coffee House and Wine Bar just in time for Valentine’s weekend! Then just as I thought things were going to slow down, my dad got sick, ending up in hospital and a co-worker suddenly passed away and my emotions went on high alert and once again I sat down to think about the motions of life, love and happiness and what it all means to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had an extraordinary life spending much of it in places that were not home. Before I knew it I was 40 and still single, and, I will admit, there was a time in my life when I thought that was awful and that I must be really unattractive and unloveable. But as I began to really evaluate my life and how much good there was in and around me, I began to realize that almost everything I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, was already there, (I say ALMOST everything because it would be at least another year before Oliver would be born and then 6 more months before I would find him) and that is the message I try to portray to other singles, regardless of their age or past relationships.

It was easy when I was on tour to not think about this because we were constantly on the move, our lives completely mapped out for us including when and what we ate, where we slept and who we hung out with. But when I unpacked my suitcases for the final time, I looked around, and for the first time in my life I felt alone, even though I had family and friends who loved me to the moon and back. It was during this time that I knew that I was going to have to make the effort to be truly happy. It wasn’t going to just happen. It never does. You can spend your life waiting for the “one” to come along, and sweep you off your feet so that you can live happily ever after, or you can let life sweep you off your feet by plugging into family and friends and church and community service and by loving yourself enough to not settle simply because you don’t want to spend the rest of your life “alone”. Every week my calendar fills with social activities as well as coveted alone time at a museum, hiking trail, antique store or my big comfy sofa with Oliver and a book. I’ve learned to garden and preserve and bake.  I’m learning Tai Chi and Yoga and gearing up to train for a Breast Cancer Ride in Austin, TX with my best friend this fall (and hopefully Melanie and Laurie as well- hint, hint if you are reading this). I’ve tried new restaurants with Christine and Jenni and Kathy, hiked around Boulder and Colorado Springs with Terri, sobbed and laughed through movies and musicals with Karen and spent countless hours swimming and playing games with Gene, Lora, Matt, Penny, Jenni and Mandi.  (Don’t even get me started on my Minne Lusa and Trinity Lutheran families.) I’ve transported rescue dogs, organized fundraisers and almost perfected my Gateau au chocolat: Le Diabolo. I’ve joined a book club and have grown passionate about literature from all around the world.  I’m falling in love with the poetry of Rumi and Auden, the architecture of France, and Dutch and Spanish painters. I’m not saying this to sound haughty or make myself better than anyone.  I’m saying this because there was a time when I thought that life began and ended with a diamond on my left hand and a husband to come home to; and that is a lie that I allowed myself to buy into for too long. I don’t know what my life would look like if I had married and had children.  Maybe I would have had time to develop the same passions I have now, but more likely I would have developed other passions (between shuttling kids to activities and doing piles of laundry) and that is okay…but… I can’t imagine never having experienced my life as it is right now. Life and love and happiness are what I (and you) choose to make of them and until you willingly choose to be happy, no physical relationship will provide what you are looking for.

Friday and Saturday night I worked at Stories helping out with their Valentine’s Dinner and all around me were couples lost in each others eyes, holding hands, stealing kisses, oblivious to the fact that I just spilled a pitcher of ice water all over their table (okay…not really), but you get my point. Not once did I stop and think, “Wow…I wish I was the one sitting at the table, staring into the eyes of my true love while my steak and asparagus gets cold.” Instead, I truly enjoyed watching couples of all ages swoon and fall in love all over again around me and when my single friend Melissa posted a picture with her new guy on Facebook under the caption “Love is…like a cat. It jumps onto your lap when you least expect it,” I was truly happy for her and couldn’t help thinking, “Yes, Melissa, it is”. But then again, sometimes it is just like an old faithful dog who has been there all along.

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