Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.
When you’re 30(+) and (still) single you tend to have weird associations with holidays. Even days like today, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which should be about as un-fraught as holidays come, tend to conjure memories of old boyfriends—or at least, one old boyfriend.
A flaming liberal, said boyfriend also fancied himself a modern revolutionary and confided—or was it bragged?—early on in our relationship that he’d participated in a Black Panther-style group during his undergraduate days.
I first found his admission charming in a, um, quirky kind of way. Then, as the relationship went downhill, suspect; and then, unhinged. I believe MLK Day fell halfway between the “suspect” and “unhinged” phases, just so you understand my frame of mind.
Now, with all due respect to Martin Luther King, I tend to appreciate MLK Day as a holiday. You know, a day off from work. Time to sleep in, maybe indulge in a weekday get-together with friends. I always love reading MLK tributes in various online publications. But for me at least, MLK Day remains a holiday, not a holy-day.
Not so for my ex. On that MLK Day, I made a grave mistake by calling him mid-afternoon to see if he’d be up for something. Maybe dinner?
"I don’t think so," he said.
In my naivete, I think I might have asked if he still had work to do. (His workload had been heavy surrounding that holiday, I remember.)
No, he informed me, he was not going to sully the memory of MLK by working. But he already had plans that night to read his MLK biography and to listen to some of his speeches online.
This was…somewhere between quirky and suspect, I thought, but hey, there are worse idols than MLK.
"It’s really about my mom," he said, catching me in the middle of trying to justify his somewhat odd fixation.
"When we went out to lunch today, she said some really powerful stuff about King," he told me.
"Like…what kind of stuff?"
He couldn’t remember specifics. Or maybe he just didn’t want to share them with me. But he did say this, “I don’t know. It was just…the way she looked into my eyes when she said it. It…it really meant a lot.”
Happy Oedipus, I mean, MLK Day, everyone!
Maybe one of the reasons I’m 30(+) and (still) single is that after holidays and family time and a flurry of celebratory brunches and parties, I’m breaking in my first weekend of the New Year with a welcome dose of solitude. If you’re looking to do the same, may I recommend:
1. Get inspired by the home and design sections on Pinterest. There’s not much dramatic overhaul I can do with my current place, but sometimes it’s the little touches that freshen things up—and make the solitude at home that much more enjoyable.
2. Tackle a cooking project that feeds your fun side, not just your belly. Homemade Pop-Tarts, I’m looking at you.
3. Laugh at this, and be so glad you’re not a 20-something anymore.
4. Ogle art by this quirky artist. Personally, I’m dreaming of the day when I can commission her to do a drawing of non-single me and my future hubby.
5. Time away from other humans doesn’t mean you don’t want company. If my apartment complex’s rules would allow it, I’d be adopting one of these darling pups immediately. Check out the video entitled “second rescue” for a truly heart-melting moment, or help BFP rescue more beagles by donating here.
New Year’s resolutions
This blog was sorely neglected over the holidays, but that doesn’t mean I forgot you. In fact, as 2011 rolled over into 2012, I was giving a lot of thought to making 2012 a better year as a 30(+) and (still) single person. For me, that starts with the one thing I can control: my thoughts. The way I’m thinking about things. So rather than start the year feeling like, as a single gal, I’m missing out on something, I’m beginning 2012 by incorporating more of what I want into my own day-to-day existence.
In plain English, that just means that this year I’m resolving not to wait around for the qualities and characteristics I yearn for in a potential life partner to come to me. I plan to exercise them every day—to make them part of my life, with or without that special someone. Here are my current top five:
5. Humor. I love this in a guy, and I’ve always credited myself with having a pretty good sense of humor, too. But this year, I’m taking that a step further: I’m approaching life, even the minutiae, a little more lightheartedly. This means looking for the humor in situations that might otherwise seem annoying or frustrating. And it also means easing up on myself a bit—having enough of a sense of humor to give myself a break when I deserve it.
4. Thoughtfulness. Who doesn’t need to exercise a little more of this in daily life? This year, when I’m tempted to wallow in my own problems, or to be caught up in my own little world, I’m planning to remind myself to look outward. To do more caring about, and caring for, others. I guess another word for this one is grace.
3. Generosity. During my process of New Year’s self-examination, I realized that I already am pretty generous with my friends and family. The person I tend not to be generous with is myself. This year, I resolve to treat myself better—to be more patient with myself, more kind, more appreciative. It’s easy to focus on what we’re doing wrong, instead of what we’re doing right. This year’s focus on generosity aims to correct that.
2. Joy. I’ve always yearned for a spouse who is unabashedly, effortlessly happy. This year, even when the going gets tough and circumstances seem crummy or overwhelming, I’m grabbing hold of joy and not letting go. Who says you can’t be 30(+) and (still) single and happy—really, genuinely happy—too?
1. Forgiveness. I screw up. You screw up. People we love (and people we don’t) screw up. It’s always easy to judge, and to hold on to resentment. But this year, I’m working on cultivating a more spontaneous forgiveness—for whoever it is who ends up disappointing me. Yes, Boston drivers, even you figure into this one.
Happy New Year!
Hey all you crazy singles! What do you say we celebrate all things merry and bright this weekend? Like:
1. Ooooh. Cool, easy-to-make decorations for ye olde apartment. Best part: There’s no boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse to thwart your decorating spree.
2. If you’re still in the mood to be crafty, what about making some Christmas/winter/holiday ornaments? Use them to fancy up your place, or give them to friends. I think these are ADORABLE.
3. I’m a sucker for decorations that are not only cute, but smell good, too. Guess what? These orange pomanders have the added benefit of being super easy to make.
4. Surely it’s not the holiday season without a splash of eggnog to liven things up. If you’re like me and don’t like to drink the stuff, these cookies have all the goodness of eggnog without the melted ice cream texture I can’t stand.
5. What better way to be merry than to spread the merry, right? I love what this organization is doing for middle-schoolers. Sponsoring a kid is a great way not to feel alone at the holidays.