The year 2011 is my do-over. Various oops-es, failed experiments, and “Aw damn” moments have ironically led me to a pretty good place. Yes, I’m divorced and living in a roach motel apartment. I’m underpaid and confused as hell as to how to get off state assistance. It seems a vicious tale-chomping circle. My car is wheezing through life and I really can’t afford a new one. But on the bright side, I’m the mother of a beautiful little girl who is blossoming into a promising young geeklet. My writing career is gaining momentum. I’ve found friends and activities that I can be and am passionate about. I’ve remembered the things I used to love like music and stupid sci-fi shows and stand-up comedy. And what is life without the things you love? I’ve established my independence and have never been more self-confident. Right now my possibilities are endless and it feels so very good. Really, the woes of my life are incredibly dim when cast in the light of my optimistic enthusiasm.
So that leaves me in a place to look for my first-ever valentine.
- Comic from xkcd.com
Yeah, you read right. I’ve never had a valentine. I don’t say that to get pity or a “Poor Jenn” reaction. It’s just a matter of fact that I’ve never had a valentine. Even when I was a kid and my class mates were required to bring those cute little cards with cartoon characters and kitty cats, I never got a special note with a “Check Yes or No” message.Valentine’s Day has never (ever) been my favorite holiday. I was either perpetually single or in a rather loveless marriage. To top it off it was my ex-husband’s and my tradition to argue on every holiday. Valentine’s Day included.
For a good number of years, I would actually begin to sink into a quasi-depression around this time of year. All those cutesy little, gag-inducing goodies that grace the front aisle of every store used to mock my singleness. I didn’t actually want any of them, not being a chocolate fan or a stuffed creature lover. I’m too practical to appreciate flowers and to absent-minded to keep track of diamonds. The stuff didn’t really matter. What I wanted was someone to give me cutesy little Valentine gifts. I wanted a valentine. To add another level of complex, what I wanted more than anything was for someone to WANT to give me a valentine.
There is no depression this year. Although late at night, when my daughter is asleep and the room has fallen silent, I can feel it there. On the edges of darkness, looking for a weakness in my soul, waiting to sneak in and poison my new-found optimism.
Even sans depression, there is still the desire to have a valentine. The longing to be needed again by someone other than my kid. If you remember your single years, or are still single, you know what I’m talking about. You can be needed by your kids and parents and job and hobbies and commitments and friends, but it is so very different than being needed by the one you love. More than that, I would like to get married again. My first marriage didn’t work but that doesn’t mean I’ve condemned the institution entirely. Perhaps I’m overly optimistic. Perhaps I’m still quite young. But I’d like to believe that people in my age group are capable of marrying and staying that way.
When an older couple in my church announced that they were celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary I was struck with a rather numbing realization. The chances that I can ever enjoy a sixtieth wedding anniversary are rapidly dimming. Statistically speaking, even if I were to marry tomorrow a man my same age, we would be eighty-six on our anniversary. According to the CIA, the average life expectancy of a man is only seventy-eight. It’s only eighty-one for women. While few of my friends have lived even thirty years much less sixty, I am gaining more and more divorced friends. Fewer and fewer of us will be able to accomplish what generations past are managing.
It’s not a good trend. It’s a terrible, horrible trend. And we’ve already discussed how un-trendy I am over on GeekMom.
But I have other reasons for wanting to remarry. I know a good number of single mom’s who have sworn never to sport that left hand-band ever again and for good reasons. So here are my good, geeky reasons for wanting to try marriage again.
- I want someone who will be as excited as I am when I get to bring home explosives from work. Insurance, liability, blah blah blah…Let’s go light something on fire!
- I want to prove that love really is for everyone. I mean the deck is sort of stacked against me. I’m divorced, chubby, a complete and hopeless geek, a total nerd, balance a full-time career with a full compliment of other activities including starting a non-profit organization, and have a kid. If that is considered baggage, I’m a freaking super-freight cargo ship. But I also believe that there is someone out there who is as excited to deal with all that as I am.
- I enjoy experimenting with all the online dating companies in as clinical a fashion as I can manage. See the complete and hopeless geek statement above.
- I want a wedding redo. Yeah, that didn’t go so hot. Pretty but not really what I would have chosen were I not trying to compromise with a bad match.It used to be that you only get married once but it seems most get at least a second chance. It sucks, but I’ll take it.
- When I married the first time I had no idea who or what I was. I didn’t know that I was a geek. Well, at least I didn’t fess up to it and own it. I was not comfortable with myself, my identity, or my purpose. (Actually I had no idea what my purpose was. It is still vague in many areas but coming into focus slowly. And I’m ok with that.) You can’t expect to share yourself with someone if you aren’t exactly sure who “yourself” is. It comes as no surprise to me now that my marriage didn’t work. Heaven knows I tried to make it but we were both young and naive, and to be blunt, stupid. The fault falls to both of us. Mine for attempting the impossible, his for not attempting anything at all.
- I want someone who isn’t obsessed with the physical and material. Someone who can challenge me intellectually while still attracted to me romantically. I know it has to exist in one person. Thus far I’ve only located one or the other.
- I want more kids and while single parent adoption isn’t out of the question, I feel I got ripped off during my first pregnancy. My then-husband hated the idea of it and refused to accept. It wasn’t until the last month of my pregnancy that he started to come around and then he got himself arrested and I gave birth without the benefit of my supportive husband holding my hand. The very first moment in time when all three of you see each other as a family was taken from me and I want another opportunity at that. (Only this time the number will be four, more if my husband has kids of his own. The number involved isn’t important. The experience is.)
- As with most people looking for love and marriage, I really want to share my passions, enthusiasms, near obsessions, (actual obsessions), and joys with someone. It’s a lot to ask of a normal person. I’m seeking a geek this time around.
- I was so very young and naive the first time around. I’m eager to experience love as a real adult. (As opposed to the pretend one I was.)
- I want my daughter to see that grown-ups make mistakes. We learn from them and move on with our heads held high. Just because something is hard (and marriage is hard) doesn’t mean you should give up on it.
Now those are just my reasons and only very briefly synopsized. I have others that are my own and range from inanely shallow to immensely philosophical but here is not the place and now is not the time for all that. For now I must satisfy myself with wading out into the sea in search of those prophesied “other fish”.
I’ll be single again for Valentine’s 2011 but that doesn’t mean I go valentine-less for the twenty-sixth time.
- My valentine-daughter and I all made up pretty for the holiday.