As you all probably know, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I celebrated the day without a significant other for the first time in two years, but the holiday didn’t change scope for me. My heart still felt full at the end of the day, with no flowers, chocolates or teddy bears to speak of. My dad did call me twice, right when he got off work, to make sure he was able to tell his daughter “Happy Valentine’s Day.” I had lunch with friends and felt the love that I do everyday of the year for my friends and family. I ended the day feeling lucky. Many people say in order to be a good better half in a relationship, you need to learn to love yourself first. I think this is true not only for relationships, but for all facets of life. If we don’t treat ourselves with the utmost respect and love, how we can expect anything or anyone else to? Things will only fall together as well as we allow them to. If given the task, we should always be able to write a love letter to ourselves. It should be a really long one, and one that can be signed with sincerity.
I celebrated this day with three save the dates for weddings this summer on my fridge of people around my own age and couldn’t help but smile and laugh while recognizing that life is tied together at different times for every single person. Careers. Relationships. Family. There’s no set guide, and Valentine’s Day was just another reminder that we all take different tracks in life. Some people have found their someone, and that’s great. Some people have figured out exactly what they want to do, and that’s great, too. A lot of people have no clue whatsoever, and that’s completely fine. I’ve been realizing more and more lately that there is no pivotal point when it all becomes figured out. One of my favorite written pieces, “Wear Sunscreen” by Mary Schmich, includes these words of wisdom: “Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind the blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.” Our lives are ones that are constantly and endlessly changing, and even when the building blocks are stuck in to place and the fundamentals are in the ground, something new and life-changing is usually on the way.
I graduated from college this past May slightly nervous, but mostly feeling like I had world at my fingertips. I was ready to go out in to the world and do something. As much as the limitless possibilities are exciting, they are daunting. At 23, I feel like I’m carving a path for my life to come. I, along with most of the population I would guess, hope to have a success story. I want to have a life that I can look back on and be proud of. In conversation the other day with a friend, discussion came to be about how the big picture can sometimes be very daunting. The friend reminded me, ”Even though we can’t always change the world world, we can change our little corner of it.”
I was recently reading a short book by Anna Quindlen entitled “A Short Guide To A Happy Life.” It’s a funny title, because a happy life is a hard thing to have a guide for as everyone’s journey is a different one. That said, there are many things in that book that if implemented would probably lead to a lot more happiness for many people. There is one section of the book where she describes different areas of her life – motherhood, marriage, her professional life and friendship, and for each one she says attempts the same thing in order to do the best in each of her roles: ”I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.” Those are three very simple things – but many of us, myself included, often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we do the opposite – we change plans, we don’t have time to listen and we can’t find humor in the ongoing battles of life. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reality check, to bring it back to the basics. One of Quindlen’s other lines that resonated with me from her book is one of my favorite quotes: ”All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”
I’m trying my best to take each day as it comes and do the best that I can at changing my little corner of the world. The possibilities are endless, but when tackled with the basics and the intentions of doing well, I don’t think I can go too wrong.