Yesterday the East Coast got pummeled by a massive snowstorm. I got to enjoy it from New Jersey, where we had to dig ourselves out of 14 inches of beautiful, white snow. It’s a gorgeous sight, particularly in the midst of the storm when the world turns quiet and the hustle and bustle take a break. I walked outside onto my front porch and couldn’t get enough of the silence. No cars driving by. No people. No birds chirping. No planes flying overhead. Just the sound of the occasional plow scraping the pavement and the wind blowing through the pine trees.
Today things are ramping back up. Neighbors are shoveling their driveways, picking their cars out of the ice, and trekking back to work. The noise has returned — and with it the everyday pressures of life and love.
You see, yesterday was quiet, serene, relaxing. All anyone was talking about was the snow. A quick glance at Facebook revealed photo after photo of snow, snowmen, and outdoor thermometers. Few were working. Kids were making snow angels. Hot chocolate was being served. It was a good day.
Today? The rumble of pressure returns. Gotta get to work. Gotta get the kids to school. Gotta go food shopping. Gotta clear the streets.
And the worst of all…
Gotta find somebody to love me.
Because one quick glance at Facebook this morning was all I could take, really. How many posts about love can one single girl take? I honestly don’t get why husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends wish one another Happy Valentine’s Day on Facebook. Aren’t you sitting right next to each other? Can’t you just say it out loud?
“Ruth, you are so bitter.”
Not really. I just think some things are private. (This comes from the girl who posts all about her dating life online. Irony noted.) Your husband gives you a diamond necklace? Your boyfriend gives you two dozen roses? Be happy! Thank him! Go make passionate love surrounded by candles and jazz music! Why do you need 63 people to comment about how amazing the chocolates he gave you look?
I’m so cynical, I know.
I bet if I find myself in a relationship I’ll be cropping all the photos of him and me into hearts and posting them online with captions like, “My heart is finally beating again” — or something incredibly cheesy like that.
The truth is, I’m not mad at anyone. Perturbed, a little, at a lack of tact. But it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.
I do, however, resent the unnatural pressure that’s placed on singles this time of year — and around lots of major holidays. So I’ll take the liberty of speaking for all singles (with the understanding that all might not agree with my take on things).
Just because we’re single doesn’t mean we’re unloveable.
Yet sometimes that’s how we’re made to feel.
Just because you’ve found love doesn’t make you better.
Yet sometimes that’s what you portray to others.
Just because we’re alone doesn’t mean we’re unhappy.
Yet sometimes you assume we are.
Just because marriage is the norm doesn’t mean it’ll happen for all of us.
Yet sometimes you make us feel like we’re doing something wrong.
I thought about posting a really happy Valentine’s post today — something encouraging and funny and generally hilarious. Something that would make my fellow singles laugh and forget about the pressures of the day. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Because sometimes it’s not easy.
Sometimes it just plain sucks.
Sometimes I need to disconnect from the outside world and just spend some quality time with me, with God, with people who don’t place romantic relationships up on unrealistic (and, frankly, ungodly) pedestals.
Too bad the snow didn’t hold off for 24 more hours. It would’ve been nice to have that kind of peace today.
Tomorrow will be better. Heck, tonight will be better. I plan on watching the Olympics and eating flan. Perhaps someday I’ll find a man who enjoys providing in-depth commentary on the differences between toe loops and Salchows and Lutzes while eating Spanish desserts with me. But I haven’t yet — and I may never. And I’m learning to be okay with my singleness, despite society and church and Facebook and chubby babies shooting arrows telling me otherwise.