Single women and Valentine’s Day

On Sunday, I arrived from Cebu City after a brief visit to Bohol on occasion of my father’s birthday. Being a sentimental soul, homecoming is not only melancholic; it’s very restful and relaxing as well. It’s very comforting and works wonders to the soul. ”There’s no other place like home.” That sums up everything.

Sunday evening, I was staring on the computer screen wondering what in the world to write for my column this week when my dearest Chavacana bonita amiga Cecile inspired me to write about “single career women in their thirties and how they will celebrate Valentine’s Day”. Ha! What a master piece but tough job. How to write about it?

Let’s start. A lot of women these days are single. They are not only single; they have financial independence as well. Others call it careers. I have lots of single friends – gorgeous girls mind you – with good jobs and in their thirties. You may start wondering what’s with the age-thing? Oh well, women have different perceptions of life at thirty. Some look forward to it. Some fear it. Others celebrate it. Still some others want to get over it – the sooner the better.

In this modern age and date when women are hailed for having careers and living life with gusto, a lot of women still feel lonely at the end of the day. They still feel a void. They desire to belong to someone and be loved by someone. Isn’t this a universal need? Even men want to belong to someone, be cared for by someone.

Thus, single women in their thirties, and not in relationships bond together to celebrate their lives by maximizing their talents and gifts, not to mention their money. Look around; you will see them in groups in bars, restaurants, malls, movie houses, coffee shops, gyms, other likely places they tend to congregate. However, for some others who have excelled professionally and financially, and are comfortable by their lonesome from time to time, they have difficulty connecting with men because these able women have “ways” that intimidate men. I guess you have heard of the phrase: She is intimidating.

Women who have independent minds, are accomplished, moneyed, and going places almost naturally intimidate men who are just upstarts. So pray tell, how do they connect? There’s really no point of connection unless the more established party goes down one level to accommodate the upstart. Yeah I know it sounds harsh but the truth hurts. In any relationship, either of the parties involved has a bigger sacrifice over the other. That’s how a relationship works. There’s no perfect relationship. All relationships entail sacrifice.

So what do we do with thirty-something single career women on Valentine’s Day? Tough question. We cannot play cupid and find them their Valentines. I will not volunteer for the job.

I guess it’s the same thing every year then, minus the years that they were involved in a relationship. It’s like any other ordinary day. They go to work and at the end of the day, they go home and sleep. For some others, they congregate together and have dinner in a fancy restaurant culminating in either singing or dancing. For the more romantic, two single career women or three can have either a dinner date or simply lounge in a coffee house, chat about their “miserable hearts” while soft music appeases their romance-deprived souls. Ah, who’s stopping you from inventing anything to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Some would probably watch a concert, show or movie.

Still at the end of the day, our single, thirty-something career women will always find ways and means to enjoy life on Valentine’s Day, Valentine or no Valentine. After all, human beings whether man or woman, will constantly work on surviving ANY lonely day.

So girl, cheer up! It’s just one of those days when you feel the lack. The upcoming days will be better. Just fill your life with the little joys of the moment while Valentine is finding his way to you.

Note: This article was published in a local paper sometime in 2008.

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Gossip, anyone?

downloadAt one time or another, we could become the subject of the nastiest gossip around. These mean talk could come from either a work colleague, an immediate relation, friend, a person who is neither friend nor foe, more so, from someone who perceives us as THE enemy, be it in the sphere of politics, career or profession.

People can be really cruel. They can be malicious. They can spread rumors about us that either leaves us angry or downhearted.

But first, let us examine why others resort to this bad habit. There must be a reason. Otherwise, why bother? It would only increase the popularity or the market value of the person you are gossiping about, without you knowing it. Imagine, she (for purposes of discussion, our subject is a woman) is so important to you that you have to spend time talking about her.

I can identify three motives. The first motive could be insecurity. The “subject” of the nasty attack, could have possibly stimulated the pangs of insecurity that the gossiper has tried so hard to conceal, but unsuccessful to resolve through time. Being with her reminds the gossiper of his or her own feelings of inadequacies and unimportance. By the way, gossiping is not the exclusive domain of women. There are plenty of men-gossipers.

imagesNaturally, it is easier to character assassinate the person causing you discomfort rather than going through the process of resolving your own issues (which if you only care to explore further, is better in the long run since you get rid of the root cause of your insecurity. But that’s another topic for another column). People have the uncanny ability to pass blame on others. They will not accept fault.

Moreover, most people are always in denial. While reading this column, how many of you could possibly declare that you have processed all the issues haunting you from yesteryear?

Second, envy. You see the person as your bitter competition. Why bitter? Because the person has the talents and gifts that you don’t have. You are discontented. You are resentful. How many times has the gossiper become upset with the thought that this woman is better than him/her?

At our ages, most of us have not reached self-actualization yet. We are still struggling to create a name, or perhaps make a mark, or even get rich. Because we can’t hack it – not yet anyway, we become envious of others who have. What a sad story.

It is a sad commentary that even with the encouragement of our pastors and priests, and even our close friends to accept our present realities, and be content with what we have, we still continue on the path of denial. So many inspirational books have taught us to be content with our present situation. Time and again, we are reminded that God made each one of us unique – with distinct talents and abilities. But others have more – perhaps because they are called for a higher purpose. We should be contented with what we have – enjoy our uniqueness – and count our blessings.

Third, you are simply a ”gossiper to the core”. Gossiping is a disease. It has infected you. It has contaminated you. It has overtaken your sensible and rational mind. It simply itches not to talk about people especially their idiosyncrasies. People have become your pastime. How pathetic. You have really sunk so low in the hierarchy of civility and good manners.

People are easy prey to gossips either as the subject thereof, or being the gossip-propagator himself. People may not know that the tag “gossiper” is negative and does not speak well of the person concerned.

Unfortunately, in any work environment, there are so many who engage in this unprofessional, unhealthy and indecent lifestyle. You find them everywhere clad in so-called professional clothes, fashionable garb, uniform, or even the most ordinary day-to-day wear.

The practice of gossiping does not respect gender, profession, position, status, wealth, faith, intelligence or age. It can strike anyone.

So what are the sensible to do given the gossipers who thrive in work environments? That’s a tough question.

download (1)Let me venture a recommendation. First, identify a gossiper. It’s not difficult to spot them. They could be in front of you right now. Stay away from the gossiper for your own good – the gossiper’s spirit is so full of vile; it will contaminate you.

If you find yourself in his/her company assuming that you work together, or belong to the same club or organization, immediately extricate yourself from his/her company. In short, excuse yourself.

When you are trapped, meaning there is no exit in sight, and they start the vicious attack on a person, NEVER, ever, join them and drag yourself down to their lowly position. Do yourself a favor, save your honor and keep your dignity intact by keeping your mouth shut. Do not involve yourself in the mudslinging.

Now, when you find yourself the subject of the gossip, take the high road and totally ignore it.

images (1)Naturally, the gossip will offend your sensibilities – you are only human after all – but stooping down the gossiper’s level is the worst that could happen to you. Let their tongues rot in their own venom while you surround yourself with friends and allies. Visit your friends and allies; have dinner with them; share your momentary pain with them. Derive encouragement and inspiration from people who share the same passion, values and interests while drawing strength and shield from your God. Comfort yourself with the thought that like anything else, the gossip on you will be fleeting. It will soon pass. But through it all, you have proven yourself cut above the rest. You have managed to show them from what stuff you are made of – educated, cultured and well brought-up.

So, cheer up! You have overcome.