“Today is Valentine’s Day – or, as men like to call it, Extortion Day!”
– Jay Leno
Last year I spent Valentines Day at the gym and then went home to work on my programing skills. This year I’ll change it up a little. I’ll hit the gym early and then go home to do some oDesk and design a video game. The only person I made a card for this year was my Grandmother and it involves Hitler, not exactly romantic.
Valentines Day is to relationships what New Year’s Eve is to drinking. It’s amateur hour. Dorks come out of the wood work. Every girl gets ambushed by her guy “friends” as they use the holiday to come out of the closet and announce their feelings for her. Every single dopey dude sits down to write bad poetry and compose a Bruno Mars/Drake Spotify playlist.
I missed out on the whole sappy Valentines Day experience. At 18 I was reading In Mala Fide and The Freedom Twenty-Five Lifestyle Guide. I missed out on ever going to a romantic comedy and Olive Garden, or writing a flowery poem about love. By February 14th of my freshman year of college I’d already traveled abroad and taken on a lot of new responsibilities for myself. I was pretty confident with myself and had outgrown a lot of my childish ways.
Very few people ever realize that I’m only 20 now, and I’m often confused with being far older. Even as a kid a lot of things that concerned most people seemed obviously inconsequential to me. While I had trouble articulating why, I was able to tell that things weren’t as they actually seemed. I remember being twelve and getting in huge trouble for stating that I thought America might actually be a dictatorship, and people were just too oblivious to notice it. Eight years later Edward Snowden proved me right.
I don’t know if I actually dislike Valentines Day, or if I secretly envy the people who enjoy it. To me the holiday represents something that I missed out on. It’s easy to mock dudes for making expensive dinner reservations and getting excited about going on a date, but it’s something I’ll never be able to do. I started too young and crossed the point of no return years ago.
There’s an old Chinese curse that states: “May you get what you wish for.” When I first heard it, I laughed. I thought it was stupid and couldn’t understand why getting what you wanted would ever be a bad thing.
In reality the curse has occurred in almost every aspect of my life. When I thought having a lot of sex would make me happy I was wrong. I ended up just as unsatisfied as I had been before. When I thought that starting my own business would be the end to all my problems I was wrong. It solved the issues that I’d had up until then, but it ushered in new challenges for me to deal with.
Virtually everything that you ever master or transcend will only unlock new difficulties. The idea that life is a narrative and that beating the odds will see you relaxing on a beach for your remaining days is stupid. New problems will emerge and you’ll need to face them. You might catch a temporary break, but there will be something new to battle. There is no magic cure all for your life’s problems.