Of course, you know I couldn’t resist writing a Valentine’s Day blog. But don’t run screaming in the opposite direction just yet! These words will be neither naively mushy nor angrily bitter in describing my Valentine’s Day sentiments.
It’s true, bitter might be the way you’d expect me to go this year. This is the first February in four years I will be spending a Valentines Day boyfriend-less, which probably should have been my first clue that I’ve needed some time on my own to figure things out for a long time. Leading up to this year’s Valentine’s Day, I’ve done some thinking beyond chocolate and cookies and red paper hearts (though those all have been on my mind, as well…minus the hearts, maybe), which is more than I can say for previous holidays. It’s strange that this silly day would be the one that makes me realize how much growing I’ve done lately, rather than something more appropriate like a birthday or graduation or some other rite of passage. But Valentine’s Day it is.
I’m not bitter, because I have no reason to be bitter. I have so much love in my life, I’m nearly bursting with it. Thank goodness it’s the simplest thing on earth to give and receive. This occurred to me when I was compiling a list of people not to forget when sending out my Valentine’s surprises. The more the list grew, the more I realized how truly lucky I am. I’ve had moments with the horses, especially, when I’m just completely overcome by the connection I feel with them, and sometimes it makes me cry with joy.
A wise person once told me that the first step is always gratitude, that it’s the first ingredient in the recipe for happiness. I’ve spent many, many years without knowing that…and I think I’m honestly discovering how true that statement is. I’m a high-achiever, so it’s hard for me to look at the present moment and be grateful for what’s already there. When you’re always striving for something better, sometimes you can overlook how unbelievably amazing everything is when it’s right in front of you. I used to think negativity was endearing, in a strange, darkly comedic way. Now I’m realizing that, not only is it annoying as hell, it’s just plain BORING. Nothing new ever happens when you’re stuck in negative-land. If you want to change something, change it. If someone is bothering you, talk to him or her. If you’re bored at home, GO OUT. Being positive is infinitely more simple than being negative.
Valentine’s Day is a day for love. Don’t ruin it for yourself or for anyone else by making the mistake of thinking there is only one kind of love. As trite as it sounds, why don’t you start by loving yourself? I’m not trying to say that in a preachy way…trust me, I’m still traveling down that road to self-love myself. But, I think a valuable lesson that I’m finally learning is that it’s all about the road there, it’s not a single destination. You’re not going to wake up someday and say “Aha! At last, I love myself!” and that’s that. It’s just like being in a relationship with another person. You’re going to have bad days where it seems like it just isn’t worth it to fight anymore. It’s a constant battle, but for most people it’s the most important one there is.
Special shout out to Erin Ferguson, who is like the older sister I never had. I’m so lucky to have basically adopted her as part of my family! She has helped me develop not only as a rider, but as a woman, as well, and I’m infinitely grateful for that.
So, have a fantastic Valentine’s Day, everyone! Do something that makes you happy. Oh, and don’t forget to eat your WEIGHT in sugar…I know I won’t! Stay tuned for another post detailing the events of this past weekend, and of my exciting Valentine’s date with Kate.