Why Valentine's Day Finally Made Me Sad

broken heart.jpg

A tiny feeling poked at me. And then I wrote a sentence. And then that turned into this: So I never thought I'd be particularly affected by Valentine's Day.

I've eschewed its celebration ever since I can remember, back to my high school girlfriend's mom calling me up to tear my 17-year-old head off for not getting her anything. My philosophy has always been to be a caring and considerate BF all times of the year, and that the unexpected moments of affection—those that feel without obligation—are some of the most meaningful.

That's not to take anything away from those enjoying this day.

But for some reason, I'm feeling the loneliness on Valentine's today more than ever, really.

It's because the truth of the matter is, I'm not happy in life. I've always had a disposition towards feeling incomplete, alone, misunderstood. It's what drew me towards the arts. Towards writing.

And that's wherein lies the problem.

I'm not doing what I want in life. Creating the way I want to, and to be honest, expected to. Feeling like I was more creatively accomplished at 21 than I am here at 31. Which is sad.

So I've spent the last 10 years post-college chasing that artistic fulfillment, only to have the obstacles of being an adult impede its path. The reality is, "making it" as a creative is rare and tough. And making it doesn't mean making it into the fore of the minds of households across America, jumping off their tongue and into cocktail parties and dinner table conversations. It means being able to pay rent. Eat food. Travel out of state every few years. Making it from your creative output is hard to do, and there's no guidebook as to how.

To that end, I've never really put my entire heart into a relationship as an adult. I want to be an amazing boyfriend and one day an amazing dad. But knowing that the passion that's driven me from weird kid to weird adult with a tool to articulate and grasp that weirdness, knowing that that passion as an adult hasn't gone much further than no-compensation Huffington Post articles and Facebook status updates is downright depressing. I don't want to be a shitty boyfriend or a sad dad. And so I keep pressing.

And I forego the passion and desperation with which people pursue love and relationships, and families, because I am passionate and I am desperate. To feel like my life, my career, my whatever you want to call this is at least progressing, is "on the way."

And the last year or two has been a wakeup call that I feel no closer to being on the way than I did 10 years ago. Forget the direction, I don't even think I'm on the right path.

And that's why I'm feeling Valentine's Day today, perhaps for the first time ever. Because I'm reminded that I can't even consider finding love until I've found love for myself in life. And that feels like an awfully long ways away.

Eric BarryLove, valentine's day