My Funny Valentine

Yeah, just another year with a dog as my valentine. (Though she’s a pretty damn good one, I must say.)

Because everything seems to hit differently in a pandemic, it’s hitting me extra hard today that I’m single…still.

I like to *say* I’m not one to regret things, but I’ve certainly recently uncovered some things in therapy that have me feeling like I wish I’d done things differently, and then maybe I wouldn’t be single at 38. (Or maybe I would? Who knows.) But, I can’t change the past, I can only change things going forward.

(Also there’s that whole pandemic thing making dating hard.)

This whole thread is good, but even as alone as I feel on my couch right now, wishing I were sharing a nice dinner with a nice man…I can also hold the fact that I *do* have so much love in my life. Just not in the romantic way.

I turned 38 on Thursday (wtf is time??), and I didn’t even have just a “good for pandemic birthday.” I had a good birthday, full stop.

A rare portrait of the artist looking calm and content. I’m not going to lie—I really like this pic. It feels like a good depiction of where I am right now.

I don’t love the idea of outdoor dining right now—for my safety AND the workers’ safety (who would likely be impacted far more than me)—BUT I knew I could go to Shutters for a fancy breakfast at 8am on a Thursday and there not be anyone around. (And obviously I wore a mask when they were at the table.) I love a good fancy hotel breakfast, and this previously simple thing brought me immense joy. It also reminded me of when I traveled with my mom. Of course, I was missing her on my birthday, but when I woke up, the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier said Mom?! And then there was a bird on that other chair?! Carol was never very subtle.

I had a pretty low-key day of class and trainings, but then a lovely evening. First: Kayla taught a private folkmore/evermore (yes, I am obsessed with Taylor Swift now) yoga class for me. I had really hoped I might get away with not having a pandemic birthday, but it looks like none of us will get away with that. (Except maybe Leap Day birthdays??) I would have preferred to hug people, but doing Taylor Swift yoga on a screen was as good a consolation prize as I was going to get, and not a bad one.

And then my dear friend/California family/pod upstairs, Kate, had me over for dinner and had these cute balloons up when I got there.

Between that, all the messages, sweets and flowers I got, I am feeling very loved and holding on to that right now—and the fact that I’d also like some romantic love, too.

We’re All Just Making It Up As We Go

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I started writing Taylor Swift fanfic. I haven’t written another word of it since, but that’s fine.

Because this one little exercise—inspired by this prompt—made me think a lot about writing and life in general.

As a journalism major and someone who has written professionally for more than 15 years, I am accustomed to writing in a very structured way. There’s a “right” way to write, and I stick to it. Working in social media, I knew how to write to best game the algorithm.

I love structure, and I hate structure. (Hi, yes, I am an Aquarius.) Structure is safe.

I sat down to play with this writing prompt, and I decided to write about the Taylor Swift song Last Great American Dynasty. I kept checking the lyrics to see if I was writing “accurately.” But I wasn’t writing a review, I was writing fiction! I could write whatever the fuck I want!

And lately, that sentiment has been permeating throughout the rest of my life and thinking about the “rules” I’ve imposed on myself, the rules society has imposed on us. A silly example: telling myself I can’t read for pleasure or write for pleasure because I am in grad school. The time I’ve been intentionally carving out to do something pleasurable has made a really big difference for me lately.

There’s no rulebook for life, except to be kind to others—we’re all just making it up as we go.