Friday, 11 February 2011
Love - 40
My sister blogged in December about how difficult she finds Christmas, not because of any emotional catastrophes, just because there's so much for her to do to make it a fantastic holiday for everyone else. At a time when everyone else seems to be looking forward to the season with excitement and anticipation, my sister (and lots of other hard pressed mums no doubt) are wracked by over work, trepidation and, probably in some cases, fear about whether the budget will stretch far enough.*
My own personal 'most miserable time of the year', however, has to be right now as we run up to Valentine's Day. Nothing emphasises the fact that you're on your own more than the onslaught of love, happiness, coupledom and romance that surrounds Valentine's Day in our modern world. Everywhere you look at the moment, all you see are cards, hearts, and things 'for two'. My email inbox is inundated with offers of romantic getaways, candlelit dinner options and gifts for the special someone in your life.
And as regular readers will know, that's not the way it is for me just now. I find myself in my 40s and on my own, and with no obvious prospect of that being any different in the foreseeable future if I'm honest. I've struggled with this over the past year or so, and while I'm getting better, it is hard to have it shoved in your face quite so forcefully everywhere you go.
But this is not a pity post. I'm not distraught or prostrate with grief. Actually I'm doing ok on my own for now. It's just a reminder that what may seem normal for most people, isn't universally so. Not everyone will be happy at joyous occasions. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in a loving relationship. What is fun for some people is just plain hard work for others. These things are useful to remember. The world looks very different depending where you're standing.
*By the way, my sister and her Mum compadres aren't the only people who struggle with what popular culture decrees should be 'happy times' for us. It's well known that Christmas can be difficult emotionally for any number of people. Bereavement, divorce, separation and illness are just a few of the things that can make it hard to cope with. Equally, the increasing emphasis on alcohol as the natural way to celebrate can make it a dangerous time for some - for the drinkers themselves and for those who suffer the consequences of other people's drinking.