Happy Valentine’s Day.

Five years ago today, I had a grim Valentine’s Day. There was a huge blizzard in New York, and I was trudging home from work in the dark, feeling very lonely. As I dodged slush puddles, I wondered if I’d ever meet my soulmate. Didn’t seem likely. Little did I know that two weeks later (just two weeks!) I would find the love of my life. As I’ve said before, it goes to show that you never know what’s around the corner.

What are you doing today? Remember how lovely and wonderful you always are. xoxo

(Illustration by Ellen Van Engelen)

  1. Jenny says...

    I just turned 30 and been single more or less most of my life, I really hope I will find that special person some day as you did.

  2. Just seeing this old post, and I have to say, something similar happened to me! 5 years ago I had the worst New Year’s Eve of my life, felt so desperate and single, and just 3 weeks later I met my person. It’s always darkest before the dawn and all of that :)

  3. Thank you for your message and thank you for reposting today. I’m sure a lot of us needed that.

  4. This post is one that I reflect on often in my mind since reading it.

    It gives me hope that I will one day find that extra special someone.


  5. You know, they make films out of stories like yours and mine. I was pregnant and just dumped when my close friend invited me to her daughter’s birthday. That’s where and when I met my current partner and now, fiance.

  6. I love this post. It is so true and I was in a very similar position two years ago – recently out of a very long term, but going nowhere, relationship, and wondering whether I would ever meet someone else. Now I am getting married to a wonderful guy and I had no idea it was so close!

  7. Oh I remember you writing your “just around the corner” story, and I even use it sometimes to cheer up friends . . . it works since you are not some stranger I’m using for proof, but someday who they can visit daily to see just how happy you are now.

  8. Happy Valentine’s Day! I have been there too, miserable from a break up and when I least expected it I found my soul mate. It is such a beautiful thing. You have to believe in true love!

  9. love this. thank you so much, j. you (and the commenters with similar stories) really made my valentine’s day.

  10. I grew up with a mom who made every holiday special – including Valentine’s – so it wasn’t really about romantic love, but celebrating all the people I love in my life. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you don’t have someone to love (and who loves you too)!

    Btw, I made that chocolate mousse for my husband you posted about a little while back (with chili chocolate and some cinnamon added) – and that might be the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life! Thank you so much for the recommendation! What a special Valentine’s day treat for surprisingly little effort.

  11. Aw, I remember that because I was reading your blog back then too!! It gives me hope, as I had such an awful day! I’m a writer here in Tokyo, and I wrote this article for a magazine, telling people what to do for fun Tokyo VDay dates… then ironically, as the writer, I was alone at home eating ice cream. Didn’t feel too hot… but it’s okay! There will be better ones!!

    Happy Vday to you and your lovely little family, love from Japan xx

  12. You’re so so nice <3 Haapy Valentine’s to you, Alex and Tobby :)xoxox

  13. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for the hope. I just suffered a gruesome break up a week ago and it feels like I’ll be alone forever. That I missed my chance. It’s good to know that its not true.

  14. Anonymous says...

    So encouraging!

  15. Totally agree. I met my current boyfriend on the grimmest day of my love life. We are together for almost 4 years now :)
    I enjoy reading your blog alot btw, especially the stories about your birth and Toby’s birth. Thank you very much for sharing!


  16. AJ says...

    i always tell myself the “joanna met alex just a few weeks after a lonely, dreary valentine’s day” story when i’m sad about being single. this random stranger is very thankful for the cheer-up!

  17. I loved your post, it took me right to the moment, six years ago today I was doing the same thing. Walking through the freezing cold to meet friends at a little bar in Turin, Italy. Little did I know, I would sit right next to the man who would become my husband and my soul.

    Hope you, Alex and Toby had a wonderful Valentine’s day!

  18. Oh!and…

    Today my friends and I are having a Galentines Day dinner after I get out of class. Its a day for my gals! Tomorrow my guy & I will celebrate Ali & Thomas day with dinner and a walk around downtown San Jose.

  19. Joanna,

    I’m in class at San Francisco State University. I should be paying attention but as always whenever I can, I have stopped by your page. Your Grand Canyon post has always stayed with me and I have shared it with many of my girl friends, hoping it would open their eyes as much as it did mine. This Valentines Day post made me tear up while I was reading it in class because I admire that you share not only your peaks but also your pits. I’m an aspiring writer and although I don’t get to post as much as I’d like (because of work and school) I would eventually like to write for a magazine and continue my blog. You always give me hope whether it be in my love life (I am dating someone but I really feel like I need to focus on my career and will be moving from the Bay Area to LA after I graduate in May) or in my career life (I have waitressed for years and now work for the Microsoft Store but its not at all where I want to be). I truly love your bog and the variety you put on here. I love that you’re humble and that when you write I can hear you speak. I’m sorry this is so long but honestly you always happen to post something that I need to hear, exactly when I need to hear it.I would love to possibly get some career advice from you one day!Happy Valentines day!


  20. Anonymous says...

    Joanna, what a lovely sentiment! Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too!


  21. Hi, thank you for sharing this wonderful love story and for the encouragement. This story gave me hope! Happy Valentine’s Day!I Pamela

  22. it’s funny, the longer I’m with my husband, the mushier I get about valentine’s day! Been together over a decade and it only gets better with time. =) happy v-day!

  23. r says...

    I SO needed to read this… I’ve been on my own (raising my daughter after a divorce) for ten years and don’t ever expect to find love again… this makes me hope! Thanks!

  24. Anonymous says...

    You have NO idea how much I needed to read this today! Thank you. And Happy Valentines Day to you!

  25. This is such a nice, different Valentines post! Thanks for remembering that there are people out there feeling the hurt today! And for giving some hope of a light at the end of the tunnel!

  26. We are celebrating the life we just so happened to “create” last year on Valentine’s Day!


  27. aw Joanna this just made me so happy! I’m in college surrounded by boys my age, but I’ve never been in love, and a card from my mom is the only thing that makes this day different from any other. Your words have given me hope that I’ll find that special someone :)

  28. I live in Australia, so our Valentine’s Day was yesterday. I didn’t do much, as I’m single and just newly moved here. I cooked myself a nice chicken dinner, and ate it while watching the movie “Penelope”. Unfortunately for me, I think my soul mate is my flatmate. But because we’re flatmates, it’s a no-go zone. Le sigh.

  29. Anonymous says...

    2 years ago today was the best Valentine’s Day EVER! I gave birth to my gorgeous little boy!

    Now every Valentine’s Day will always be the best day ever. My husband and I also decided to make every Valentine’s day/birthday a “family day” that we all spend together celebrating our son and family.

  30. i always love your writing. glad you found the one. :)

  31. Foteini P. says...

    “Remember how lovely and wonderful you always are.” ->->-> :) :)

    You made my day!!!! :)

    Thank you!! :)

  32. so sweet that you met your man so close to after valentines when you were feeling blue-always gives us hope! spent my night at parent/teacher conferences…badly timed I say-then pizza and a girly film with my mum-so bad with the good!

  33. What an incredibly sweet post. I’m going to share it with my lonely-hearts friends. And I will tell them how lovely they are!

  34. You are so sweet, Joanna. That’s why I really like your blog. You focus your attention outwards to the world and your readers rather than inward. You achieve wonderful balance. I hope there is much joy in your heart because you are sweet and sincere.

  35. Anonymous says...

    This is lovely. I am trying not to look too hard, so it will find me. Here’s to hoping that next year I won’t be longing for that someone who doesn’t seem to long for me.

  36. Four years ago I was bemoaning a certain boy not asking me out for valentine’s day. Four years (and five days from now) later that certain boy and I are celebrating our anniversary.

  37. Awww….I think the grim Valentine was all worth it. You have such a cute little family! Toby is just sooooo adorable!! And you & your mister look so happy together!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!


  38. You are always thoughtful, Joanna. I appreciate your musings and kindness.

    Three years ago today I was hoping to be reunited with my first love. He was unable to make it and I was admittedly disappointed. I went on my merry way and two weeks later he drove 10 hours to come visit me. We’ve been together since!

  39. That is so great and hopeful to hear! I always wondered how you met Alex? Would love to know!

  40. Anonymous says...

    I’m feeling hideously lonely this year. Same as you anon, I found out my ex is getting married to a woman he met 4 months after we separated. I have not had a kiss since 08 and I’m beginning to think I will die alone.

  41. I really needed this reminder today, thank you. Happy valentine’s day :)

  42. That is fate, I tell ya. Love this. The secret to finding love is being open to it at all times….Cheers.

  43. Anonymous says...

    I really needed to read this today. last night, I cried myself to sleep because i just found out that the only guy I’ve ever really loved recently got married. i wasnt delusional to think he would wait for me (I moved away a few years ago), but it was still a very hard hit when I found out.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing. I am comforted in knowing that my time will come. :-)

  44. This is very cute. You always write such lovely things about your family. Have you ever shared how you and your husband met?

  45. you’re such a great writer!

    i too thought i was never going to find someone, and then i did two years ago :)

    have a great day!

  46. Anonymous says...

    Funny, five years ago I was alone on Valentine’s Day, feeling sad, but trying to make the best of it. I went to see Juno (yes I did go to the movies alone on Valentine’s Day and enjoyed it too!). I bought myself a bouquet of tulips and got some great take out. I can remember exactly how I felt that day. Today, I am married to a wonderful man I just adore. I thought it might not happen for me and it did.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all. And to those that are single and looking, it happens when you least expect it!

  47. H* says...

    you never know what life will bring!
    I feel in love with my best friend for 15 years! Now we have a beautiful baby together!

  48. Thank you for your inspiring words… I hope to not be spending to many more V-Day’s alone…

  49. I’m a single girl – not necessarily bummed out about today in any way – but I just have to say that reading this further affirms that you are SUCH a breath of fresh air, and I always appreciate your words.

  50. Anonymous says...

    Wonderful story, Joanna; we’re all so pleased that you have found your soul mate – and cloned yourselves so beautifully in Toby.

  51. I love this story. You really never know what life will bring you. I’m sure this will give a lot of lonely hearts a bit of hope today. :)

  52. What a sweet post :)
    Alex and you are such a sweet couple :)

  53. I remember reading a similar post you wrote last year on Valentines Day about finding your soulmate shortly after a rough lonely Valentines Day. I also vividly remember thinking to myself “Pfff, of course SHE found someone perfect… but that’s never going to happen to me…” Then exactly one week later on FEB 21, 2011 I met the love of my life. I have thought about your post often since then, even going back and re-reading it to laugh at how silly I was to think that I wasn’t going to find love. :) Happy Valentines Day and thanks for adding a bit of joy and love and “told you so” to your readers lives. <3

  54. Anonymous says...

    It’s true, you never know when love will find you. It happened when I least expected, and now this is our first valentines Day together!

  55. thank you for a post that brought both tears to my eyes AND hope to my heart!


    waiting for love :)

  56. Thank you for the uplifting reminder. I am feeling hopeful today!

  57. Happy Valentine’s Day, Joanna! Cheers to 5 years + 2 weeks ago and spending the rest of your February 14ths with the love of your life :)
    My boyfriend and I live in snowy Minnesota and are going to venture to the Mall of America to ride the rides at the indoor amusement park and snack on Godiva’s chocolate-covered strawberries: two things I always want to do every time we stop there, that we finally have an excuse to make the time for. :)

  58. As a single girl this year, this reminder of how life is ever-changing helps, especially on a day like today! Thank you and happy love day!

  59. “It happens when you least expect it” is totally true. :)

    I found mine a little over 5 1/2 yrs ago… <3

  60. Funny what can happen in five years, isn’t it? My life was COMPLETELY different five years ago. I had a valentine, but not the right one. Much happier now!

  61. Last year around Valentine’s Day, I caught my then-husband cheating on me. This year, I am spending it with an amazing man who treats me well.

    Last night I had to work late, so I gave my sweetie a key to my house. When I got home, my sidewalk had been shoveled and dinner was already prepared. There were pink roses on the table and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my favorite!) in the fridge. He calls me his “principessa.” I feel so special! Soooooo worth the wait.

  62. that picture goes perfect with this post.. and i love your love story!

  63. best. valentine’s day photo. ever.

  64. Making tacos tonight with 5 single girlies and a puppy… determined to not feel sorry for myself!

  65. There’s someone out there for everyone. I truly believe this.

    Happy Valentines Day!

  66. Anonymous says...

    that is sweet and a good perspective for today!

  67. oh that poem is so so sweet… it gives me a lump in my throat as I read it (I’m such a sap!).

  68. I have always loved this story about the timing of when you met Alex. It’s such a great story to share. I’ll never know when the love of my life will come into my life. So might as well enjoy today :) Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family! xo

  69. Frances says...

    Same thing happened to me just last October. It happened when I least expected it to. Many more Valentine’s Day to come!

  70. life is such a mystery…you never know

    those lines are so beautiful and so true

  71. Lux T says...

    You made me smile!! :)
    It´s so true that you never know what´s around the corner!
    I wish you an Alex a great Valentine´s day!!!

  72. Jen X says...

    So beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Believe in the immeasurable possibilities of love! :)

  73. H says...

    What a funny caption you wrote on that post from five years ago! Thanks for the inspiration Joanna!

  74. What a beautiful poem — thanks for sharing it with us!

  75. Aww, what a lovely thought at the end of this post :) thank you for that.

    I am working, my first shift today was full of couples. Luckily, it was quiet enough for me to be able to babysit my boss’ 3 year old daughter instead of doing any actual work. Tonight I will, hopefully, be on the bar serving the 12 couples we have booked in. Hooray!!

  76. Amy@OldSweetSong says...

    Oh how I know that soggy shoes, walking home from work in the cold dark night feeling so well! Not tonight though! I’m single and heading out with girlfriends to dinner and then a power ballads singalong. Isn’t that a genius even to have on Valentine’s Day? I’m excited.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Alex!

    p.s. Alright, my true love better show up in two weeks.

  77. That is very beautiful.

    I made a homemade skor bar, made DIY packaging and packed it into my hubby’s lunch.

    Lookie –> cupcakedesign.ca

  78. Beautiful story and beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing :)

  79. Leslie says...

    Love the beautiful poem and how you shared your just-around-the-corner story, Joanna :)

    You and I must have been on parallel life paths: I met my husband in Jan. 2007 (right after spending a tear-filled Christmas at home and crying to my mom that I would be alone the rest of my life). So I couldn’t agree more–you can be so sure of something one day, and then something or someone comes along that you could never have imagined. It’s nice to let life change us, no?

    Have a wonderful day, everyone. xoxo

  80. I have always adored that poem, so simple and pure and true. This morning I woke up with my 2 sweethearts Michael and baby Milo and immediately had such a full heart. What a joy to spend my life with my two soul mates!! Cheers to today and everyday to come!

  81. Such a good story, and such a good reminder for those of us that haven’t yet found ours.

    I took flowers to my single girlfriends this morning and tonight we’re going to a comedy show in Brooklyn and having pizza, beer, and pie. I might be single but my heart isn’t lonely today! :)

  82. that made me tear up- in my office no less. so sweet. thanks for sharing!

  83. So sweet. This is my first married valentines day; it’s crazy how quickly things can change!

    Speaking of which – it is Valentines 2012 ;)

  84. What a great story! I went through the same thing! And today I’m happily married to the greatest guy in the world! I actually blogged about it today… get the Kleenix.


  85. still waiting for that one…just around the corner. ;)

  86. what a sweet and wonderful post! thank you!

  87. Oh…I guess it always gets darker before the dawn, right? Congrats on your wonderful life and love story! I know dreams come true! They do! Happy V-Day to u all!


  88. this is so true… i meet my husband when i at lead had expected it…

  89. It’s a snowy Tuesday here and I have a big, scary meeting with the head of our division. Spending Valentine’s Day single…

    I needed the positive words! Thanks Joanna!

  90. Soggy shoes and socks on the walk home in NYC – Been there :(
    But, Isn’t it amazing how life can throw you a curveball when you least expect it? It’s a marvelous thing!
    Cheers to all souls finding their mates!

    Happy Valentine’s Day, All!


  91. Thank you, Joanna! Right back at you! xoxo.


  93. Isn’t it funny? The essence of life? Knowing that you can be as low as soggy shoes in a NYC blizzard merely 2 weeks from feeling the beginning of the longest strand of elation in your life for the rest of it.
    And that it would bring love that would create Toby.

    Happy valentine’s to all of us who have found love, and who will find it yet.

  94. Aww, that’s so nice! The poem is lovely and you are lucky you have found your soulmate :)

    I have found mine too :D

    Happy Valentines Day!

    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING xxx