Yes, I took myself on a date for Valentine's Day


I recently posted a Facebook update that after a tough trail race, I treated my ravenous self to dinner. Solo. On Valentine’s Day weekend. At a nice restaurant. I was the only single person in a sea of red-dressed couples. I sat at the bar, chatted with couples, swapped stories and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I noted in my update, even if you’re not in a “plus-one” relationship, you still have special person. It’s you.

To my shock, this generated more than 100 likes, which given the fact I have just under 500 friends, is my equivalent of breaking the Internet.

I think I know why it resonated: Because I have unapologetically chosen to treat myself as better than passable and more than pretty good. I look in the mirror and embrace my cool cat anomaly – not to be mistaken with a blustery “full of herself” hurricane. More than 7 billion people walk this earth, and only one gets the opportunity to be me. I’m the only one who gets my extra special fingerprints and DNA, just as I have this amazing chance to be a mom to the coolest kid I know. I am the only one on the planet with my exact hair color – yep, you can’t bottle this. I’m the only one who thinks my thoughts and feels my feels, writes my words and experiences this ride that is my life. I’m the only one who has my calloused feet that have the character of a bunch of miles on them, and I’m the only one who flies from down dog to crow quite like I do.

I am 32 flavors and then some.

cowboy boot

One of my friends called me “brave” to go to dinner by myself. Understand, in no way do I think taking myself to dinner and ordering a cocktail and a fabulous entrée makes me courageous. It reminds me of a conversation I had in Las Vegas at the blackjack table with an off-duty police officer. We were playing $10 blackjack, and I hit on 16 as the dealer showed 10.  He looked at me, and proclaimed me “brave,” which is truly laughable. What he does for a living is truly fearless. Playing the odds on a low-stakes bet is not bold, daring or even possibly heroic. Just as I chose to play the odds and bet on 16 – I won the hand – I have found when betting on myself, the odds are generally in my favor.

I suppose to some that’s a leap – betting on you -- in a world that emphasizes upsizing your house, downsizing your waistline, romanticizing your relationships. But at some point when I got to the sage decade of life (my fourth), I stopped being as concerned about being a bit more of this or little less of that. Now, I mold the landscape of my world to best fit who I am, not shape myself to what I thought the world expected. 

So in my case, I celebrate Independence Day on Valentine’s Day weekend. And understand treating yourself doesn’t have to be a fancy-schmancy meal, though I enjoy those. Recently, I ordered a fresh fruit cup, and there were a few raspberries tossed in for good measure.  I had forgotten how much I loved the taste of a good raspberry. So now, I buy them with reckless abandon. And it makes me really happy to look in my refrigerator and see those little red jewels. Because I'm worth a few raspberries. So treat yourself. Maybe it’s a hot bath, a steaming cup of tea, an overdue pedicure, a sweaty yoga class or a run just because it’s sunny outside. It need not be expensive or time consuming. But it needs to happen all the time - it's a practice as sure as I practice yoga.  

Then, suddenly you understand that you’re worth a great deal. And all of it eclipses being brave or a nice meal. What it really comes down to is compassion that you give yourself as a gift every day through what you think, what you say and what you do. These little things are mighty big things indeed. So care for yourself as someone you love dearly. And if you are presenting yourself to the world as someone who wonders if the parking ticket of your life deserves to be validated, please just stop it. Self-worth starts with you. Nourish yourself with good stuff – meaning good food, healthy thoughts, a dose of physical activity and a supportive tribe. Punch your own ticket every day, not just on special occasions.  Be a VIP in your own life.


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