Happy Flippin' Valentine's Day. I don't know what happened to me this winter, but I have been struggling to find that loving feeling. Maybe because it has been particularly grey and cold here in the UK. But probably not. I'm old enough to know that it is never REALLY about the weather. For the past several weeks I have found myself grouching about my husband, my kids, my work. I have been fantasising about having a secret pied a terre, where no one can get at me. I would decorate it in pale pinks and whites. I would have shelves of books and a wooden floor. Somewhere in there would be a big claw footed bathtub with a view out of a picture window onto a private garden. My bed would be as comfortable as a marshmallow; not too big but with room enough to feel indulgent. The towels would be fluffy. I would have a great sound system that let me play CD's as well as the radio and my i-pod. I would listen to singer songwriter Genius mixes as I sat in the bath and stared out my window. Or I would walk around naked; maybe have an easel with a canvas on it and some acrylic paints nearby. I notice as I write that nowhere in this fantasy is there a computer or a phone or a television or god forbid - an instagram account. I don't seem to want to talk to or communicate with anyone but myself. For company my dream guests would be Nora Ephron and a few of my close girlfriends - but they wouldn't stay long, we would eat something, dance around and then they would go. I would be blissfully on my own again. There would be chocolate ice cream in the freezer along with some Crystal Head Vodka -in case I wanted a bad ass Martini.
Now before, I get too carried away, I must remind you and me, that this is make believe. My reality is that I live with two teenagers and a husband all of whom have musical tastes of their own, none of whom seem to care how food gets into the refrigerator or onto their plates. Our television is almost always tuned to a sporting event and recently they told me, practically in unison, that I should take the dog to the vet because he's been making this weird retching noise in the mornings.
Now, I know these are my most favourite people in the world and that we are eternally connected, but I'm not feeling it the way I usually do and that is quite unsettling. Its probably the hormones. They say at my age (50) that those nurturing Stepford chemicals recede and we are finally able to 'give birth to ourselves'. Sometimes I know what that means, but I don't right now.
So I faked Valentine's Day today. I told them all how much I loved them and even got us all little presents, which is something I used to get a kick out of doing. But my heart wasn't in it. And then that brilliant newsletter from Peaceful Dailypopped up in my 'in box' this afternoon. Somewhere in it was the message: 'All relationships are a reflection of self love'. Suddenly, something shifted. I felt like Justin Bieber after he'd found out he'd been 'Punk'd' by Ashton Kutcher. If my relationship with my family was a reflection of my self love - then I was the one who was making my life about chores and compromise. I was the one who wasn't listening to my own playlist. Wow. Maybe I won't need to move out. Maybe, I'll give birth to my Martini swilling, naked dancing self right here in my own home. That would be one hell of a Valentines Day surprise for all of us.