I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).
Realistic assumption? Of course not. But for a few minutes the drama queen in me took over and my emotions ran wild. Fortunately, I was able to reign them in, but the feelings I experienced are very common.
February is the month of the heart, the time when we celebrate love. We buy chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and greeting cards to profess our undying love to that special someone. But, in all the hoopla of the season, perhaps we forget to honor the affection provided by the people that sustain us and enable us to thrive – our friends.
We hear so much about marriages, committed relationships, and romantic breakups, but I believe we neglect to truly understand the dynamics of what may be the most important relationships in our life – friendships.
As another new year begins, I have spent hours pondering what I want my first message to be, as it sets the tone for the year ahead. As I reflected on 2017, and all the wonderful things that have happened to me, I realized that the message is simple: Even in the darkest moments of your life, there is strength within you (that you don’t even know exists) and, if you don’t give up and succumb to the negative feelings, you will realize that there is hope and that better times lie ahead.
For someone who is going through an extremely traumatic period in life, you may not believe what I am preaching because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or because you believe that your life is over.
While the life that you knew may be over, or to be more correct, changed, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me … I know.
Recently, I was in a round table discussion in which we talked about interpersonal relationships. A repeating theme of the conversation was that people felt like they were replaceable, that there was no value given to them and/or a relationship by a friend, partner, family member, or employer.
Hearing so many people express the same feeling made me start to wonder if we have become a society of disposables. It reminded me of an expression my mother used to say: “Out with the old and in with the new.”
It seems like just about every aspect of our life today is disposable. We throw away televisions, computers, clothing, phones, food, furniture, and so much more.
By contrast, when I was growing up, we fixed everything. There was a neighborhood television repairman. We ate leftovers for dinner. We took our shoes to the local shoemaker for new heels. Baby diapers were cloth and appliances were kept until they could no longer be repaired. We drove the same car until it died on the road. And most marriages lasted “until death do us part.”
There are certain days of the year to which we attach expectations of how we believe it should be. New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day. A birthday. And, when those days don’t go as we planned, and our expectations are shattered, we can be easily devastated.
I have lived much of my life in fear of being alone. I always hated it and did anything humanly possible to keep myself busy; surrounded by friends and family. I’m not sure why, but I was never comfortable in my own company – I despised it – and so I tap danced. It’s only in recent years, by necessity, that I have learned to be content and at peace in my solitude.
But, even as evolved as I like to believe I have become, the prospect of being alone on my birthday rattled me.
My birthday week began with a celebration with lifelong friends and was slated to close with another group party.
But, on the actual day, as fate would have it, I was going to be alone.
Every sappy romantic can recall that moment in the movie Love Story when, after an argument, Oliver told Jenny he was sorry and through her tears she quivered and replied, “Don’t … love means never having to say you’re sorry”.
Anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship understands the point of that statement – unconditional love doesn’t require one to apologize. But, is it really a good practice to forego an admission of wrongdoing or hurtful behavior?
I say, no way! Love means saying you’re sorry!
Another year has come to an end and a new one is just beginning. As is tradition, we use this time as an opportunity to reflect on our life and set new goals.
I’m sure you have seen this Brad Paisley quotation many times in recent weeks: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
As you embark on this task and create your resolutions for the year, I ask, is your priority a WHO or a WHAT?