If you’re anything like me, you find yourself year after year wondering what makes February 14th so dang special. I don’t get it, do you? I’m single (nothing new there) and dateless (yet again) on Valentine’s Day.
And I’m actually OK with that.
Had you asked a twenty-something-year-old me what I thought about being perpetually single on Valentine’s Day, you probably would have gotten a (self-bought) box of chocolates thrown at you. But at thirty-four, I’m content with February 14th being just another day on my calendar.
I do have love in my life. Plenty of it actually. More than I could ever imagine possible. My family loves me. My friends love me. But most important of all, I love me.
It may have taken me a lifetime to come to the realization that self-love is just as important (if not more) than the love provided in a relationship, but I’m ready to celebrate it.
Here are ten things I love about myself.
- My blue eyes – I’m 50% Greek and 50% Polish (but 100% American). I know more about my Greek heritage since many of my relatives emigrated from Greece and their cultural ties are still very strong. Other than a few holiday traditions and family recipes, my knowledge of my Polish roots is very slim. My blue eyes, however, connect me to my Polish family members. I couldn’t be happier to share this recessive trait with them.
- My muscles – I may not be as strong as I was when I was a gymnast, but I’m still muscular. I’m a natural athlete and my body consistently shows that, even when I’ve skipped a few weight-training days. I’m a firm believer that strong is sexy and muscles are beautiful. My thighs have allowed me to cross the finish line of five marathons, while my biceps help me lift heavy object like Hercules. Most of all, I love that at thirty-four years old I can still hold a handstand and make it look easy.
- My dimples – I share this trait with my mom and it’s something that many people have pointed out over the years. These have always served as a reminder that despite my syndrome, I do share some of my parents’ facial features.
- My knack for photography – Even though I majored in art, I was always intimidated by photography. When I studied abroad in Italy, I finally took a course and found that not only did I love spending hours in the darkroom, but I also had a talent for composition. I felt like I finally found my niche in the art world.
- My tattoo – For years I wanted to get a tattoo, but I wasn’t sure what I should permanently ink on my body. One day, I heard Toby Keith’s hit song “Made in America” and I had my answer. One of the lyrics in the song is he had “Semper Fi tattooed on his left arm.” My grandfather was a Marine in World War II and I wanted to honor his service. When I hear this song now, I smile and look down at my left wrist to where it says “Semper Fi.”
- My mind – It’s smart, creative, and always eager to learn something new. My brain allowed me to excel in honors classes in high school and graduate Cum Laude in college. My good grades were a reminder that my syndrome didn’t hinder my ability to learn. But my mind is more than just an intellectual feature. I’m equal parts left AND right brained. When I need to escape reality but can’t actually go anywhere, I let it create stories to whisk we away. I wouldn’t be me without my mind.
- My willingness to try new foods – I was raised to always try a new food before saying I didn’t like it. This allowed me to expand my palate. At eight years old, my favorite food was rack of lamb. (Honestly…what happened to Mac and Cheese?) Now that I’m adult, there are very few foods I won’t eat. I take pride in the fact that I can visit any restaurant and find a delicious choice on the menu.
- My sense of adventure – I like to say I have a nomadic heart and gypsy soul. My body craves new experiences and thrives on them. I’m always seeking out ways to have fun and make life a little more interesting. My sense of adventure opens new doors and allows me to keep living a creative life.
- My wide taste in music – I was raised listening to both oldies and classical music. Everyday my dad would drive me to school and he’d turn on one of those stations. When we took road trips, he would pop in cassette tapes that told stories of the classical greats like Bach and Mozart. I’m grateful that now I enjoy listening Vivaldi just as much as I enjoy jamming out to Luke Bryan or We The Kings. My wide taste in music allows me to find the perfect background playlist for whatever mood I find myself in.
- My heart – I believe in doing good deeds and being a kind person. I volunteer, raise money for charity, and regularly make people smile. My open heart allows me to be the best version of myself, and there is nothing better than that.
If you find yourself alone this Valentine’s Day, remember that the most important love is that which you have for yourself. Find what you love most about yourself and embrace it. You are special. We all are. And each of us deserves to find our self-love.
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. Go spread the love.