Even Barbra Streisand slept alone!” This is the phrase my best friend, Tim, and I would say to each other when holidays like Valentine’s Day were fast approaching.
Why did we say this? Because Barbra Streisand is America’s Queen, at least to Jews. In a career spanning six decades, she has won Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Tony Awards and the freaking Presidential Medal of Freedom.
From 1971, when she divorced Elliot Gould, until 1998 when she married James Brolin, she slept alone. This Jewish Goddess, one of the greatest recording artists of all time, with more than 68.5 million albums in the U.S. and with a total of 150 million albums and singles sold worldwide slept alone.
Yes, Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us. No, this is not a Jewish holiday. Does it silently sadden most single people? Yes, it does — even those who call it a “Hallmark holiday” and then weep in the shower.
But you know what? It is still hard when you are single and you are at Plum Market just trying to buy some of their delicious Hungarian mushroom soup and you see endless arrays of hearts exploding all over the place, pink marshmallow hearts and “Be Mine” candy paper plates sold in packs of 10 for the Valentine’s Day party that you will NOT be attending.
You try to fight your way through the endless bouquets of flowers bursting in pinks and reds in your face just to pick up your grapefruit-flavored La Croix, even though it tastes like a single Skittle dissolved in water. You can’t even get to the bread section without See’s candies laughing in your face that you will not be devouring a heart-shaped box of assorted nuts and chews. Sorry, maybe next year.
It is OK to be alone. In fact, a recent U.S. census reported there are another 110.6 million who will also be single on Feb. 14. It is OK to be single, especially during holidays that celebrate love in epic proportions. Mother Teresa, who you probably did not realize is really the love expert, not Barry White, said, “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love.”
Love does not have to be married with children living off of Lone Pine and Middlebelt. Love does not have to be a 2-carat cushion-cut diamond. Love is snowplowing your elderly neighbor’s driveway. Love is buying yourself a bunch of peonies, your favorite flowers and Oprah’s, too.
If love is meeting someone with a smile, start smiling some more. Smile at that preschool mom you can’t stand. Smile at the mailman. Smile at your mom. You will feel the love. Most importantly, never forget that if you are sleeping alone right now, Barbra Streisand did, too … for an insane amount of years. Now, go smile.
Sara Berkowitz Eaker has been a professional writer for 15+ years. She also taught English, drama and sex education to high schoolers in South Central Los Angeles. She has a penchant for Sno Balls and Yiddish. She now lives in Metro Detroit.