My birthday is Valentine’s Day. It’s a hugely lonely day for me, for a whole host of reasons.
First – I typically don’t get it off work, because all the married folks have seniority and tend to take it off to spend with their spouses.
This doesn’t bug me too much during the day, but I also usually end up being on call for the evening, which means I’m not supposed to leave the house or consume mood altering substances, which basically eliminates all my favorite birthday activities. I usually tend to sneak out to a bar or sneak into a bottle at the house, but for the most part I keep with the spirit of being on-call, which is to say staying sober enough that I could fix something if it broke.
Second – I have never been “with someone” on my birthday.
My seasonal brain chemical fuckups usually start around November or December and all of my relationships have, traditionally, been smoldering piles of wreckage by the end of January. And since my marathon of singledom has continued unabated for yet another year, I haven’t even had the smoldering piles to keep me warm on Cupid’s big day in recent memory.
Third – I get maudlin and nostalgic.
The second half of my brain chemical fluctuations almost always kick off with a “where are they now” week, where I scour the internet for information about people I used to know, desperately wishing that I hadn’t done this or said that. Mostly, this is over by Valentines, but some years, like this one, it hangs over me like a mist, well into the end of February. Nights are spent dreaming of people past, and glorious reconnection. Mornings are spent shaking off the unadulterated glee of dreamtime and feeling it replaced by harsh, angular reality.
Fourth – I don’t want to go out.
Despite rankling at being “stuck at home” because of work, I really don’t want to go anywhere. I make plans and then back out of them, I am unresponsive when others ask me to go out. I am stuck inside my head and when I feel like that, I always want to just sit at home, on the couch or in front of my computer, processing.
It feeds on itself, this depressive cycle, but thankfully it’s usually short lived and localized to my birthday, and I can usually force myself to go do things. And when the sun comes out, I feel rejuvenated and alive again. But for now: grey outside and me on my couch, stuck in my head, analyzing, analyzing.