Thank God that’s over with. A colonoscopy? My taxes? Another root canal?
No. Valentine’s Day.
Most of you woke up last Friday with a kiss and cuddle from your true love. You probably got a card, and what says love more than a dozen red roses – especially when they’re delivered to your office?
But, for me, it was just Friday.
In a million zillion years, it never occurred to me that I’d be alone on Valentine’s Day. Never. I was born to be a wife. Yet here I am, 58 and still single.
Recently, I was having coffee with a business acquaintance and she asked if I was married.
I told her no.
Living with someone? No.
She tilted her head, with an expression somewhere between shock and confusion, and asked, “How is that even possible?”
Well, heck if I know.
But I do know that what she said had a profound effect on me. I am smart, cute and hilariously funny. My work has always been in the public eye and you’d think with the law of averages I would have met someone by now.
So I too have to ask, “How is that even possible?”
I grew up in Chicago and was raised by loving parents who to this day are still holding hands. Our family was a cross between “The Wonder Years” and “Seinfeld.” I got my first copy of “How to Be a Jewish Mother” on my Sweet 16 and knew I’d be going away to college mainly to earn my MRS degree.
I would have a traditional Jewish wedding in a downtown Chicago hotel and our first dance would be in front of 250 people and a seven-piece orchestra playing “Close to You” by the Carpenters. I’d be a stay-at-home mom and we’d live happily ever after.
Well, a funny thing happened along that yellow brick road.
I went to college and met a nice Jewish boy, but that ended when I went on the study abroad program to England.
After graduation, while my friends were planning their weddings, I was planning how soon I could move to England – which I did. My romance with the handsome bloke I met on British Rail was right out of a Danielle Steele novel, but when the clock and the visa started ticking, it just wasn’t meant to be. So I went back to Chicago, and in 1982 moved to Walnut Creek, Calif.
Just before my 30th birthday, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t stop crying and my friend Karen rushed me to the hospital. The doctor on duty talked to me for about 20 minutes and diagnosed me with acute disappointment.
He said I was suffering from a bad case of turning 30 and not being married. He was right. I had pictured my life a certain way and it just wasn’t going according to plan. I stopped crying and my friend and I went out for Chinese food.
Next thing I know, I was turning 40. Ten years went by and there had been plenty of men and lots more weddings – just not mine. Thankfully. I had a “plus-one” most of the time, so I was spared the shame of being the ninth at a table for eight.
Then I hit the Big 5-0 and had an incredible aha moment.
I realized that society says if women aren’t married by the time they’re 30, they’re labeled picky. Forty and not married means there has got to be something wrong with them. But turn 50 and everyone – especially married people – think you’re lucky to be so independent. Really. I was single, had a fabulous home, a great career and could do what I wanted, when I wanted.
Two years ago, I moved to Scottsdale. How hard can it be? Picking myself up and starting over again. So what if it’s a red state? So what if I don’t know anyone? So what if can’t figure out which way is east? It will all work out.
But I was still alone on Valentine’s Day.
The truth is, I still want to be married. And not because Carly Simon sang that that’s the way she always heard it should be, but because I want to share the last few chapters of my life with someone.
I know that if I had married when I was in my 20s or 30s, I would probably be divorced.
But I also know that my story will have a happy ending because I truly believe that my beshert is out there.
Maybe I’ll meet him next time I go for a colonoscopy.
Donna Lynn Rhodes is a marketing maven and freelance writer. Contact her at donna lynncreative.com.