14 minute read

One thing I just realized is that February is almost on its last legs now. All it takes is a giant sweeping, felling blow from a broadax, and “Thar she blows!” as the saying goes.

Well, maybe not exactly how it goes. But the point stands, as it were. February has only 3 more full days left, not counting today. Then, it’s history. No more. Get outta here, you.

Maybe that’s for the best. This time of year always fills me with wistfulness and regret and longing and the whole sum of loneliness. Maybe it’s just that Valentine’s Day was in the middle of February, and this year it was as rough as usual. There are a lot of singles on Valentine’s Day, so good news is I’m not alone; the bad news is that it always fill me with jealousy and hatred to behold the sight of couples with hands intertwined, or so deeply engrossed with one another. It makes me sick inside, like an infectious worm or larvae wriggling around in my stomach, and I can’t put my finger on exactly why that is.

Except for the fact that I’m single on Valentine’s Day.

Yeah, except for that.

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to toss out the rulebook that dictates whatever the fuck it is I should be doing to attract a partner, and just treat it like just another boring day. Like, Valentine’s Day can go suck on dirt and rotten eggs for all I care.

I worked on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Oh yes, of course I did. Pulling up credit card transactions helps to jog the memory, because sometimes it feels like such a long time ago that I can’t be bothered to remember. But yes, I did take-out some Peruvian Chicken on V-Day. From Pollo Peru. Just one chicken breast and rice and some plantains, and I paid around $12 for that. Of course I remember that bit even without my credit transactions to tell me. Then, it looks like I went shopping at Trader Joe’s to get some fruits, veggies, and stock up on some groceries. Of course I did. Just another day, right? Now that the memory’s jogging up, I remember going to the nearest TJ’s — the one in Reston — now that I think about it. Ran into some old bloke and disliked his attitude immediately. To be fair, was in a somewhat mean mood too, easy to enrage and all that. Good thing the waters were mostly calm though. Smooth sailing. I remember the guy who checked me out at the counter too. He said he had relocated from South Africa. Moved in with his girlfriend. I remember thinking, wow, good for him. That’s swell. Though I honestly don’t know why I should really care, or why I need to hear this crap on Valentine’s Day. My total spent at TJ’s was a little less than $40, in case that matters.

Anyway, just another day, so I headed back and dumped all my groceries in the fridge or else on the dining table outside, and then I ate some Peruvian rotisserie-style chicken. This was around lunch time. Don’t remember what else I did. I did not go to gym or workout though. Part of the reason, lot of waitlists to sign up, and it was hard to get into a gym class. Likely young couples or last-minute idiots (like me) trying to get some cardio and fat burn in. Either way, determined the juice is not worth the squeeze. Wasted effort, along with desperation, is more prevalent on days like Feb. 14th, in my heartfelt experience. Best to not even join the line, rather than get ahead of the crowd. So at around 5 in the evening I finished up work and decided just randomly out the blue, feels like a good day to play some board games with some folks. So that’s what I ended up doing. Went to play board games on Feb. 14th, which was a Wednesday, with some others.

I don’t remember which board game we played (Update: now I remember the name of it, but it’s irrelevant). Don’t even remember what my strategy was, going into it. Only I remember that it was a decent, if somewhat complex, game. It took over a half hour to explain all the rules. Most of that explanation travelled through my eardrums, but curiously never reached my brain. All that to say it went over my head in large part. I hung on to basics, but usually I do better when actually playing the game itself. That way I can ask clarifying questions, observe others play through their turns, and confirm what about I am about to do. Now that I think about it, more stuff is coming back into my brain. About what we played. I remember each player starts with one pawn, can get more pawns up to a max of 3 or 4 IIRC. Then there are resources which you can buy or trade for, like gold, etc. Here’s an update, whilst writing this, thinking about the board game rules helped me remember the name of the game, and searching the name online helped me remember the rules of it. So we’re all set on that front. Anyway, I had what would have deemed by others as a weird, amateurish strategy. Which was totally fine, because I was a newcomer and was my first play-through at the game. I still didn’t even remember all the rules or how to play of it. But I developed my own strategy, which was largely rubbish but based on my faction. AKA the cards I had been dealt. Yeah, those cards. Just play them. So I did, and ended up at second place, of this I am certain. First place was taken by another dude, I also remember who this was. Yes, it’s great when the memory is jogged, and you remember some things in hindsight once actually talking or writing about it. This is good stuff, solid stuff.

Oh, and another thing I remember, thanks to my photo library, is around 10PM or, right after I had finished playing that board game which literally took like 3-4 hours based on that timeline, I was supposed to join family for dinner but it looks like I lucked out of it. Because I was too late, and at after 9 PM anyway is too late for dinner for most folks.

Not for me, though. I decided I was hungry as I still hadn’t had dinner, so I went to TGI Friday’s at Worldgate Centre — the complex which is actually a pretty depressing place to be at nighttime due to lack of events and anything worthwhile happening — and started off by ordering a $2 draft beer special (the one in a tall glass).

Beer at TGIF

Then, skipped the apps and went for the main entree with a burger with bacon, BBQ sauce on the side, and fries.

Burger at TGIF

Burger was decent. Because I was somewhat buzzed from the drink and feeling a little down due to my relationship status on V-Day, I also ordered dessert at the same time. Eating healthy and nutritious is a great concept on paper, but sometimes you gotta live a little. You never know when your life is going to suddenly end. It could be months, years, or even decades. If not decades, then it doesn’t matter what you eat, once in a while.

Because sometimes you gotta do whatever the fuck you want to do, to satisfy an overactive sweet tooth or whatever craving hits you at the moment. So that’s what I ended up doing. I got a brownie drenched in hot fudge, some vanilla ice cream with some pecans and maybe some caramel on it. I don’t remember the name of the dessert item, but it tasted pretty great – as you can probably tell!

Dessert TGIF

For once, I could just put away all fears and red flags that went off in my head, and table that for the time being. Like the whisper that drinking that beer is not good for the gut. That eating red meat is bad for you in the long run. Or the one that (rightfully) said that eating something loaded with sugar and artificial crap like syrup and whipped cream and whatnot, is not good for you, and can cause you to gain weight the next day. The last voice probably had a point. But the thing to note here, is that I could just silence all those opinions and red flags that went off in my head. I simply devoured the whole brownie along with the vanilla cream and hot fudge and whatever syrup or sauce they’d loaded it with. One might say, that’s heresy. That’s blasphemy. Overindulgence. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that either. The truth is, eating that dessert was a guilty pleasure.

Maybe I did overindulge myself. That too, at around an hour before midnight. Eating at a table by myself, alone on V-Day. As the story goes, I suppose there is room for improvement in the future. I hope for it, in any case. Being single or alone forever is not a life goal of mine, nor should be anyone else’s for that matter.

Anyway, that’s how my V-Day went. Feb. 14th, a Wednesday, I spent it just as a usual day by and large. Grocery shopping. Takeout for Peruvian chicken, even though I normally avoid takeout for lunch, and haven’t eaten Peruvian chicken in a long time. Board games with some folks. Eating dinner — a burger, beer, and (hot fudge) brownie — at a table, in public, alone. OK, so maybe the dinner (eating out) part is not something I do every day. Maybe not even once a month if we’re being honest.

Every now and then, though, it’s nice to live a little. To remind yourself that:

  1. You’re human.
  2. You’re alive.
  3. You have a brain, and a working heart (actually, I have a great heart, that can sustain over 200 BPM, but that’s another story!)
  4. You’re in peak physical and mental condition.
  5. Life is hard and painful, and death is easy and painless. So, every now and again, it’s worth it to reward yourself for choosing the harder path.
  6. You are still young.
  7. You’re the dominant sex on this planet.

Now, it’s worth saying, that the last two points might not be applicable to all individuals. Now that I do the math, the probability that an individual is young, given that the newer generation boasts an above-average life expectancy that has increased from years past, is roughly around 50%. This is going with some rather wild, brazen and unprovable assumptions, such as the cut-off for labeling yourself as “young” would be at 40 years of age. Further, to the last point — #7 above — the chance of the individual (or you, the reader) being a male is a clear, unequivocal 50:50 chance.

Adding (or rather multiplying) the two together, one ends up with an actual probability that an individual would satisfy the last two points noted above, at around a 25% chance that they would be both young and male. Supposing that we also go a step further to factor in points #3 and #4, that probability will likely diminish by some margin even further, though it’s not worth going into for the scope of this blog post.

Suffice it to say, I seem to have gotten myself sidetracked from my original train of thought.

My intention is not to stereotype or to label one gender or sex as “better” than another. To be fair, I believe all genders and ethnicities and religions have their advantages and strong point. Their “Raison d’être”, such as it were. This being a blog post, I am only here to offer one possible, highly opinionated and charged viewpoint. The reader is free to argue, to take insult to, or to outright dismiss, it as they wish. Opinions are always subjective. For example, it is impossible for me to be objective when I am a male, and being asked which gender or sex is the best. The cowardly, easy way out is to say “neither is best, all are equal”. I don’t have to defend my opinion other than to vaguely state, that “men rule this world”. Take that as you will, and with a grain of salt. Or a fistful of it.

The truth is that being active and fit, and eating healthy, is all well and good on paper. The even more stark, bleak truth, is that it’s entirely conceivable that one’s life could be cut short at any instant, oft times without a moment’s notice. A heart attack, or a stroke, or a ruptured intestine, or suicide, or really whatever. Maybe that is a bit bleak. The point is that you never know what kind of nasty curveball that life, and the world, will throw at you.

Being an unbeliever — an atheist agnostic — myself, it’s hard to wrestle with so much religious dogma and crap that people and media spew out these days. Most of it to tempt you, or sway you, to join their cause. I can heartily attest, that all of it is an unadulterated load of horseshit. No one knows what is real and what is not, apart from what they can see and observe. No one knows even that we’re not currently living in the Matrix right now. Much less what supernatural forces exist out there, in our backyard or in the no-man’s land between life and death.

All I know is that we (me included) have a severely limited time on this Earth. We humans measure this time in years and decades, never centuries as that is clearly implausible. But no one knows even when their life will be cut short. Maybe a month from now, from a heart attack. Maybe three years from now, from a bullet to the head. Maybe twenty years from now, from a traffic accident — say, being run over by a bus while crossing the street; or maybe being behind the wheel oneself.

The sad truth is, that news articles and papers out there will advise you to eat healthy, stay off processed foods like burgers and milkshakes, and stay fit. As someone young, in their 20s or 30s, one has no reason to heed said advice. Not because it’s a load of crap – because it’s backed by some amount of scientific truth and research – but because life has just started at that point. But even then, I argue that eating healthy shouldn’t be top of someone’s priority list. Because the next day, some tragic accident can happen, and you (or someone you know) can lose their life. In unforseen circumstances out of your control, exactly how much does eating - or living - healthy help you?

So the goal here, is to do good, and be good, and live life to the fullest. Yes, that largely involves doing whatever the fuck you want to do. Of course with some limits and strings attached, such as not when that action negatively impacts another individual or cause. Of course. Not letting any news article telling you what to put into your body, or to exercise and stay fit (unless you want to). Exercise and fitness is not the be-all and end-all. Nor is eating healthy. What is, is day by day, carving aside time for yourself, piece by piece, and ensuring that yours (and others) lives are fulfilled, or at least as fulfilled as you can reasonably manage, within the powers that you are granted.

Be humble, and bold, and daring, and brave. Because fortune favors the bold over the meek. Don’t be afraid to get hurt, or get rejected. This bit of advice is something I’m actively working on incorporating myself, but it should echo sentinement and truth to others as well. Also, be kind to others less fortunate to yourselves. Lastly, I am not saying forsake religion, but do not mindlessly embrace it either. Question everything. Do not take anything at face value. Ask why, and as the running theme is to be bold, take it one step further, and ask why not. Finally, do not hold a strong belief in any one direction, because at the moment you die, your world can easily be overturned, and you can find out that belief (or lack of belief) has availed you nothing. All those years of life and faith – or non-faith – utterly wasted. Where does belief in a higher power get you, when it may well come to pass, there is nothing higher than mankind itself? Rather than work towards hope of redemption and Heaven in the afterlife, work towards accumulating good karma, by performing good deeds and not squandering opportunities that are beneficial to others (not only yourself). This is my advice, and this is what I continue to follow.

Good day, and take rest, February. Signing off for now, will make a follow-up post by later this month.

Yours in health,