Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but has its euphoria, or lack thereof, remained? Happiness can be achieved many ways, but considering life already holds infinite possibility, and the stunning uniqueness of each individual spirit, that may or may not mean a great deal to hear. As human beings, especially young ones already inundated with an overwhelming exposure of “musts” and “mustn’ts,” anxiety seems hell-bent on sticking its fingers anywhere it can, endlessly searching for just the right place to twist. So may I take a moment to remind you that it’s going to be OK?
It’s easy to look around at what others have and feel inadequate. When it comes to the absence of a significant other in your life, hormonal drive aside, those quiet, sad moments in which the reality of your deep-seated loneliness feels unavoidable, despite the existence of your friends and family, well ... those aren’t proof of your flaws.
Allowing anxiety to try to tell you that because someone who lines up with your human experience in a breathtakingly profound way seems thus far absent is another step toward hating the beauty of your uniqueness. Take it from me, that slippery slope goes a long way down.
At the same time, your lack of luck is, in my “humble” opinion, not a valid excuse to show spite toward others in a seemingly better position. Not only is the quality of one person’s life and experiences a very relative subject, but frankly, the world doesn’t owe you anything. It never has. Muttering filthy words in the corner and shooting dark looks with impunity is probably helping you to forget what you have that is worth making you smile. And while your fury towards your situation is perfectly understandable, it certainly isn’t going to get you anywhere.
There’s a great cosmic joke about Valentine’s Day that the lonely think they are the butt of. All too often, even those with happy romantic partners may miss it. Alton Brown—who, despite being a chef, is someone I consider a favorite writer—prefaced his “Valentines Day” recipes with the comment that “everyone puts so much emphasis on Valentine’s Day recipes when we should be celebrating date nights all year long.” Is there anything vulgar about wanting to just spend an evening with your best friend? It’s already the sort of thing people look forward to for most of the week, even for those whom they aren’t interested in romantically. So the best advice I can give is that when you’re feeling lonely, brittle, whatever you’d like to call it—seek out a good buddy and try and talk it out. Ultimately, whether or not you find a love interest, you can find love—and shouldn’t have to deal with your already “miserable existence” alone.
Intern Chris White-Sanborn may not be a smart man, but he knows what love is. Send collegiate news to firstname.lastname@example.org.