In past years, I have dreaded Valentine’s Day. While others would have a sweetheart with whom to celebrate the day, I was alone, ever searching for the man of my dreams.
This year, however, I remain alone, but am less focused on the search than I have been in the past. And perhaps I am better able to delight in the day because I’m no longer focusing on what I don’t have (but wish I had). As one who loves couples, the sight of lovers, in the past, was often bittersweet, bitter because they had what I lacked, sweet because I appreciated what they had. Today, I see only the sweet.
It’s all a question of attitude. During the summer, about two weeks before my epiphany (which a reader perhaps defined more accurately as being “thwacked up the side of the head” by a two-by-four), I read in a pocket edition of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? that the purpose of one’s life “is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your own peace of mind, or even your own happiness.” Those words — and others in a similar vein — made me wonder if perhaps there was a reason that I had yet to find a boyfriend.
As I integrated those words into my life, I soon became better able to appreciate my solitude and less focused on the search. I can still taste the beauty of romance and imagine finding that special guy someday. As I have become less preoccupied with finding a boyfriend, I have focused more on developing friendships. As a result, in the intervening five months, I have made more new friends than at any similar period in my adulthood.
Two of those friendships began with guys I had initially dated. As I was getting to know each of these two wonderful men, I focused more on our relationship than on my desired outcome (i.e., finding a boyfriend). I saw each as the man he was — and not as the boyfriend I wanted him to become. I feel today so grateful that I have met them — as well as my other new friends.
I haven’t given up hope on finding that one man who, to paraphrase George Eliot, could “be all” to me, but I am no longer focused on finding him. That’s why on this Valentine’s Day, I’m not bitter about being alone and why I can better delight in those loving couples I see all around me. They have found what one of the things that is best on this earth, enduring romance and affection, qualities which make life worth living.
And they have found what I have been (and still am) looking for, only not with the intensity I once did. Not focusing on finding that special someone I have gained a greater appreciation for those things that, even though single, I do have, most notably my family (particularly my nieces and nephews) and my friends.
So, for me it is a Happy Valentine’s Day — and I wish the same to you and yours.
– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)