I’ve lived most of my life without a significant other and February 14th was not a happy day for me, or my unattached girlfriends. When I lived in McCarty Hall at the University of Washington, I watched bitterly as parades of flowers were delivered to lucky recipients. “There should be a day for singles!” I told my roommate. “We could call it Singles’ Awareness Day or S.A.D. for short.”
Valentine’s Day holds different memories for each of us. When you’re in grade school you usually give a card to everyone in the class.
Later in life, you’re supposed to have one special person to shower with chocolates and flowers. When you’re single it hurts because you’re not receiving any symbols of love, or you have no one to share your heart with.
According to 2014 statistics from City-Data.com, 26.2 percent of Bellevue residents over the age of fifteen are single, 0.8 percent separated, 4.4 percent widowed and 8.7 divorced.
We find ourselves alone at different stages of our journey. As I’ve aged, I ask people what Valentine’s Day is like for them.
My twenty-something co-worker said there’s so much pressure on him to buy the “perfect” gift for his girlfriend, and he lives with the fear that he’ll get dumped if his presentations don’t match her expectations.
I work at a drug store in Bellevue and I see men sweating over the ravaged Valentine’s Day card display on February 13th. It’s funny to me, but probably stressful for them.
“Here’s my gal,” a senior customer says to me as he opens his wallet and shows me a picture. “She’s been gone five years now, but she’ll always be the love of my life.”
As I peruse the pages of the Bellevue Reporter I see ads for retirement living homes, musicals and churches. All these places are safe havens for singles to find kinship and possibly love.
Make friends in a new environment; enjoy musicals and plays produced by local talent; worship at churches and fellowship with people of all ages and stages of life. Become part of a greater community.
Perhaps return to our grade school tradition and give valentines to all your single friends. It may make the day easier. Maybe Valentines isn’t about having one person to love, but celebrating all your relationships. Being single doesn’t mean you’re alone.
Marnie DelCarmen is a Bellevue resident.