Dear Dating Coach,
As the youngest and only single in my family, I look forward to Pesach every year. Sure, I end up being the family babysitter and I spend more time in the kitchen than any of my siblings, but I love when they are all home. The noise and action that they bring allows me to forget that I am struggling to find the right match for me. Their strong marriages remind me that I shouldn’t settle, and their advice helps to be a better date. This year, with dating off-limits for the near future, I will be all alone with my aging parents who cannot leave the house due to Coronavirus. I love my parents, but sitting at a quiet seder with them painfully highlights how slone I am, how single I am, and that I may be an adult, but I am still living in my childhood bedroom.
Dateless and Depressed
If you’ve ever watched a runner or any serious athlete compete, their determination is clear. Their entire focus is on their goal, on success, and on their training. They take their spot on the line, with every muscle in their bodies poised to race, their eyes clear with steely determination. When they hear the shot, they take off, putting everything that have learned and everything that have into getting to that finish line. As we watch, we strain to watch the blur of runners, urging them on, leaning forward as if we were the ones in the race. Then at that last second, a stumble- maybe it was a pebble, maybe just a trick of gravity. The runner falls, mere inches from the finish line, the agony of defeat painfully clear for all to see. Later, after they’ve composed themselves, they will offer a rehearsed line like, “It’s not about winning, but about the journey.” But you know, and I know, that what they really mean is, it’s all about winning.
I am so sorry that your siblings will not be able to join you and your parents for Pesach this year. This year, young families who never dreamed of making Pesach are suddenly faced with the task, and parents who envisioned their houses full of laughter and grandchildren, will be quiet come seder night. Coronavirus has taken this from all of us, the ability to be with your loved ones, and to celebrate together. Coronavirus has taken this from singles who don’t have any family to go to and hoped to join a communal seder, and coronavirus has taken this from mothers of large families who depend on the respite their loving parents offer them over Yom Tov.
This is the reality. We sympathize, we all truly do, but the reality remains the same. Instead, we must count the numerous blessings that you have before you. You have aging parents that are healthy and well, and a home to hold a seder in. You have been given a priceless gift of quality alone time with your parents, and the chance to sit with them through every meal at Yom Tov. If you were married already, your parents might be alone, while you worried endlessly about them from afar. G-d willing, next year you may look back at this precious time with your parents where you had their undivided attention for eight days.
Dating can lead you on a long journey, when all you care about is winning – about finding your bashert. However, the journey matters. The experiences you gain, the sensitivity you develop, and the understanding of what is important all grow during the dating process. You will not have your siblings with you this Pesach, and the quiet house may remind you that you are single. Single and close to your parents. Single and introspective. Single and aware that you are lucky and blessed. You will reach the finish line, and your parents will be able to walk you down the aisle with full hearts and the understanding that you made it through this together.