• V-Day 2011: I’ve Got This

    by David Lacy

    This is the first Valentine’s Day in nearly a decade I’ll be alone.

    Any day now I’ll be signing divorce papers, bringing an official close to a seven-year relationship. To be honest, my hand is going to shake like a seismograph during an earthquake while signing those damned forms. I’m not going to want to surrender the pen when I reach the end of my scribbling signature. The finality of the moment is going to hit pretty fucking hard.

    I had a lot of expectations for age 30.

    I thought I would be a dad by now. I thought I would have a baby girl I would spoil like crazy and perhaps a son I would play cops and robbers with. I won’t lie: I fantasized about kids bursting through the door, bouncing on the bed, waking me with jumps, giggles, and somersaults. I would get my son mini cargo shorts and a 49’ers hat; my daughter pretty dresses and – oh, who am I kidding? – some Niners gear as well.

    The really hard part to admit, however, is that I’m actually going to be OK. Just fine actually.

    Sometimes it takes a bit of sun or a flute of wine or a decent jog to arrive at this conclusion, but eventually – and repeatedly – I find myself returning to this same assessment.

    After all, the fantasy I mentioned above isn’t a dream abandoned, but rather, a “dream deferred.” I can still obtain this imaginary scenario if I want it (I do still want it actually); I might just need to take a scenic detour along the way.

    Here’s what I do to get my mind off the pain of the divorce and to re-focus my energy and attention on self-improvement and/or distraction:

    * I bask vicariously in the success of others’ relationships. Some suggest Valentine’s Day is a particularly spiteful time for single people. They contend that “singles” harbor secret and bitter resentment toward their romantically-unified friends and family members. In reality – at least for myself – the reverse is actually the case. I derive a sincere sense of hope from the positive relationships that surround me. My younger brother, Michael, and his wife Kim (as well as their baby boy, my first blood-related nephew, Orion) make me grin like a fucking idiot whenever I see them. The playful banter between my friend Hank and his husband Kyle makes me proud to declare my acquaintance. And my best friend David and his wife Ashley continuously demonstrate that some commitments are built on the most solid and unshakable of foundations.

    * I occasionally flip off satellites in the sky because I’m angry but don’t wish to be rude to people in “real life.” Try it. It’s fun. Satellites won’t fight back. I promise.

    * I drive up and down the Pacific Coast Highway without destination, sun-roof open, screaming at the top of my lungs along with the car stereo. And I don’t stop screaming (“singing”) when I’m parked alongside another vehicle at a stoplight, in fact, I sing louder and more enthusiastically. For extra emphasis I’ll even use the steering wheel as a drum set.

    * I walk to the beach and stare into the watery infinity. This is precisely as healing as it sounds. The interminable roar of the crashing waves operates like Xanax on the brain. Admittedly, I’ll occasionally fall asleep in the sand.

    * I go to coffee shops to work and strike up conversations with total strangers.

    * I watch marathons of television programs on my laptop in bed. Nothing beats passing out to an episode of Dexter, a glass of cheap wine, and a bag of microwave popcorn.

    A few months ago I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope with the first Valentine’s Day in nearly a decade without a special someone by my side.

    Now I think I’ll try not to worry about that. Besides, I do have a special someone by my side.


    • David,
      Heartfelt and true. You are your best love. Take care of you and all else will fall into place. Love your writings and enjoy our FB friendship.

        • David Lacy

        • February 14, 2011 at 9:47 am
        • Reply

        Thank you Madge. I appreciate that tremendously. And definitely agree on the FB friendship. You are part of the inner iPinion circle!

      • Vickie Stahl

      • February 14, 2011 at 10:08 am
      • Reply

      You’re going to be better than OK. A dream deferred, delayed or somewhat deluded is still a damn dream. Enjoy the time with yourself because one day you will share that pleasure with someone else, here’s to kids hopping on your bed.

    • It sounds like the scenic detour, though often lonely, is bringing you peace and perspective. I also fantasize about having children and sometimes I get overwhelmed when watching friends and family interacting with their own. I often have to remind myself that I’m not on some deadline for marriage and family. I just say “If it happens it will happen when it’s time for it to happen.” Someday in the future, when you are rushing around with your parental obligations, you will look back at this period of your life and be thankful that you had this time to discover yourself. You are an amazing, talented person and I look forward to reading more of your columns.

      • Don S

      • February 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm
      • Reply

      I said to myself repeatedly: “There are worse things than being alone. One of them is being in a relationship with someone who wants out.”
      Solitude has its advantages.
      Take care.

    • Hi David,

      Nicely written. I remember that 1st Valentine’s as well and I must say, you seem to be doing well. I, too, took a lot of pleasure in my friends’ relationships and we just happy to see them happy. Happiness with yourself is nothing to be sneezed at. Good luck.

      • David Lacy

      • February 14, 2011 at 6:37 pm
      • Reply

      Thanks you guys. I really appreciate it. And thank you Madge for being part of the inner iPinion circle for ages.

      But thank all of you for your kind words.

      • Dorine Mathieu

      • February 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm
      • Reply

      I commend your courage to share your perspective and feelings. The greatest thing about feelings is they are owned by us as individuals and no one can take that from you. You will get through this. I agree this is just a detour in the journey of life, and it is important to take care of you. You sound like you would be a great father, but there is still time and consider yourself lucky for it complicates things as a child grows and the interaction (not avoidable) with your former partner. Embrace life, move forward and tell yourself you are worthy of many more good things to come. I pinned the Maya Angelou quote to my refrigerator after a divorce. “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it”. Find that something that will get you through this and beyond.

        • David Lacy

        • February 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you Dorine.

      • Katie

      • February 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm
      • Reply

      Thanks for sharing this, David. I appreciate your honesty (and wonderful writing of course). I am so glad you are able to find solace in yourself and in the beautiful world around you. And we are always here too!

      • Hank

      • February 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm
      • Reply

      Love this column! And you . . . you’re very special, my friend. I am glad you realize that.

    • I admire you for your wisdom in “basking vicariously in the success of others’ relationships.” For although we must love ourselves first, I believe that we learn so much about loving, communicating, tolerance, acceptance, and all the necessary “tools” of how to commune with someone by being around “successful” relationships and other happy people. Thank you for sharing.

      • Scott

      • February 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm
      • Reply

      I’m in the same place but not as young. It’s a little harder after 28 years and a successful, handsome kid in college, But you make a good point, and I appreciate it.
      Thank you.

    • I agree with Don S

      • David Lacy

      • February 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you everyone for the kind words. I hadn’t seen some of these comments until just today (minor technical glitch; still working out the kinks.)

      And Cheryl, I concur!

      • Kate

      • July 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm
      • Reply

      Tremendous essay, David. Most powerful paragraph of them all is the final one. One word. Literally brought tears to my eyes and put a lump in my throat.
      Best wishes.

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