So Valentine’s day is coming up again, that day makes me think about love, romantic love that is.
If you have a partner, then you think about what you should do on that day to make it special. If you don’t then you just go home and avoid going out to avoid Valentine’s themed everything in shops, supermarkets and restaurants.
In my mind I’ve gone back to various Valentine’s days in my life, realised that I can count the ones I remember on one hand.
The first Valentine’s day I remember, is when I came to England at the age of six and first heard of Valentine’s day at school. We didn’t have Valentine’s day in Communist Czechoslovakia.
I remember there was a post box in the assembly room and people could drop their cards there and then a boy who was assigned as a post man would deliver them. I did think, even at the time, it was a bit strange to have a school condoning romance between children so young as seven, but nevertheless I went along with the game and wrote a Valentine’s card (anonymously) to my two favourite boys at schools who were called Jamie and Matthew (I think).
I felt disappointed when I didn’t get any cards myself, as I was the weird foreign kid, with a dodgy haircut at school at the time, and the more popular girls got several cards and I just watched them with awe from a distance.
However two Valentine’s cards arrived at my house, which made my father look worried as to who sent them and he started watching out for any suspicious looking paedophiles in the area.
Later in life, I managed to up my game a bit in the popularity stakes with boys and the next Valentine’s day I remember was when my first ever boyfriend, at the age of 15, gave me a flower he picked in his garden.
My first thought was that he could have done a lot better than that, but as I was in love with him, I instantly forgave him and reinterpreted this as a quirky and cool and not too romantic way of expressing his love to me (romance was not seen as cool at that age).
The next Valentine’s day I remember after that is after a painful breakup with a boyfriend, and how rubbish it felt not being with him on that day.
Then there was a Valentine’s day when I got proposed to in a restaurant, luckily with no ring, needless to say, I turned down the offer, which put a bit of downer on the rest of the evening.
Then the last Valentine’s day I remember was the one before this one, when I still had a boyfriend and we went out to a local Indian restaurant and he gave me some jewellery, which broke the first time I wore it. Perhaps that was ominous, as we split up very soon after that.
It’s been a year since then, and it makes me wonder what future Valentine’s days will bring.
Thinking about Valentine’s day has got me thinking about love in general. In the past I used to think that having someone to love and who loves me back would solve all the answers to my problems and make me happy.
But I discovered that it didn’t. My mistake was making my partner the centre of my life and expecting him to make me completely fulfilled. I felt incomplete without a boyfriend, and I always wanted to be with someone, I was never happy on my own.
In the past I would have probably stayed with someone, until I found a replacement, because I didn’t want to be single. But I knew I had to overcome this feeling, and learn how to be single and like being on my own, because I didn’t want to be with someone for the wrong reasons.
I realised being single was better than being in a relationship that wasn’t working and also that I needed to be happy with my own life before I could be happy with a partner. I couldn’t expect them to fulfil me, I had to fulfil myself. I needed to fall in love with my life, before someone could fall in love with me. Because if I didn’t feel excited about my life and about myself, why would someone else?
Being single now is letting me build my own life that I’m excited about. So when the right person does come along, they will only complement the life I already have, and not be the centre of it. I won’t expect them to fulfil me completely, because that’s not even possible and it’s an unrealistic expectation to make of anyone.
So happy Valentine’s day everyone. I wish you lots of love in all areas of your life, and that you always love the life you have, and if you don’t love your life now, then that you succeed in creating it.
Peace and love