As an uncontrollable sap, I can’t help but think “Where was I on this day five years ago?” or last year, or a decade ago. I’ve kept a journal since I was in second grade, and I love looking back “on this day” in previous years. It’s crazy to see how much has changed.
When I think back about today in years past, I’m struck by a) how much has changed in three short years and b) the fact that my favorite Valentine’s day memory has nothing to do with a boyfriend.
So consider this a compare and contrast, if you will — a look back at the Worst Valentine’s Day Ever, and The Best.
As I was falling asleep last night, I relayed this story to the beau, marveling at how much has changed in three years. It doesn’t sound like very much time, but I feel like a completely different person than the Jac I was in 2009.
In early 2009, I got dumped. It came very out of the blue, but it was a very good decision. The fellow and I, while in a good relationship, were in completely different parts of our lives. We wanted different things, and if we’d kept it up longer than the six months we already had, bad things were on the way. He understood this better than I, and in January of that year, he split it off.
Everyone deals with breakups differently. Me? I need a day to wallow in self-pity. Just a day, and I like to make sure I don’t have anything else going on so I’m not a mess for something important. For whatever reason, my first day to let myself be really miserable fell on a Saturday, on Valentine’s day. It did not make the day any worse or better — instead, it just made me remember that it was exactly three years ago today that I:
- Went to Blockbuster at 11 a.m. in search of movies to get lost in. I chose “Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona,” which I’d never seen before, and which totally blew, and “Closer,” which I’d seen lots and absolutely love. At the checkout, the cashier says, “‘Closer.’ Wow, that’s a depressing movie for Valentine’s day.” I chuckled, but when I got in the car, I thought, “I sort of wish I’d burst into tears just to make that guy feel like an ass.”
- I had both movies watched by 7 or 8 that night. After, I had myself a good, solid cry fest. I was sad, sure, but I was lonely too. The ex and I had had a long distance relationship because I was in a new city. Without him, even 170 miles away, I pretty much had no one. The cry fest resulted in a panic attack, which I cured by jumping in the shower and laying in the tub, letting the water hit me in the face. In retrospect, that sounds like a great recipe for drowning yourself, but I was just trying to make myself get control of my breathing, and it totally worked.
- At that point, I thought, “I have got to get my mind off this.” So I grabbed, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and got lost for three hours. It was the best remedy to get your mind off a broken heart I have yet to discover.
My best Valentine’s day ever happened my senior year of college, in 2005. I had just split up with a long-time boyfriend, and my friend Jason and I ended up at our friend Lindsay’s. We ordered her favorite take-out Chinese, and we hunkered down and watched episode after episode of “Sex and the City.”
I find it poignant that my best V-day doesn’t involve a man. Aside from my past two with the beau, I don’t really remember many others. (I think a boy in college once made me fettuccine Alfredo in the dorm kitchen.) And for the last two years, the beau has taken me to dinner. We’ve exchanged small gifts and had a wonderful time. (The first year especially makes me smile because Jeff told me that’s when he realized how much I rocked — I bought him a pound of black, black, black coffee beans off an Etsy seller and a travel coffee mug that looks like a Starbucks to-go cup. He’s a total coffee nut, and the fact I managed to address that so well told him, “Hey, this girl is something special.”)
But hanging out with friends after getting out of a shitty relationship? It was great. I especially loved that, no matter how I paired off a gay man, a bi woman and straight lil me, you could not get a working couple. It seemed to somehow cement the idea that hanging out with friends on Valentine’s day is awesome.
Share your memories of your best or worst Valentine’s! I hope your day is full of exactly what you need it to be.