This year for Valentine’s Day, my fellow singleton R and I had planned on having an epic celebration of Us, starting with bad takeout and beer and followed by a night of cocktails, dancing and very likely a few questionable decisions, all in the name of love. Sadly, fate and the near-constant exposure to stranger-germs stepped in to ruin the fun, in the form of strep throat for me. Not wanting to prolong an illness, since I start the new job this week, I had to trade cocktails for clindamycin, and decided instead to venture out of the city to my hometown for a few days, a Valentine’s vacation rather than Galentine’s night out. I’m fortunate enough that my trip home is a simple trek through suburbia via train, a perfect time to stick in some headphones and have just about 100 minutes of blissful, uninterrupted me time.
This ride was particularly enjoyable, as I have absolutely no work-related responsibilities to occupy my anxieties and the suburbs were beautiful, a cliche New England winter postcard, covered in snow untouched by New York cynicism and dirt. My “Uplifting” playlist on Spotify, a mix of my favorite happy songs, provided a wonderful soundtrack to this ride, allowing me to lose myself in the music and my own thoughts, as they raced from love, to new shoes, New Haven style pizza, heartbreak, new beginnings and back to love.
I love the moments to myself where I have nothing to do but think, think, think. Thinking about the future, from where I’d take my mama for her birthday dinner this weekend to where I’ll be this time next year, waiting for flowers from a special person or going for Galentine’s take two. Thinking about the now, where I’d managed to snag a clutch seat on this train, right underneath the heater on a freezing, sunny winter day. Thinking about the past, like how much I enjoyed the thunder-snow last week and how this is the first year we wouldn’t be going to “our” V-day restaurant, sharing lobster cocktail and the hazelnut ice cream tower, all laughing and drinking and love. These moments to focus completely on my imagination feel so rare, unsullied by interjections from work and calls from the super reminding me he needs to fix my broken shower (again). It’s a simple 100 minutes for just me, something I cherish.
But then the train whistles, interrupting the last of these thoughts, reminding me to disembark and get back to the present, where my parents and the dog are eagerly awaiting my arrival and I really do need to call the super back. It’s just 100 minutes in the grand scheme of things, after all.