When I was a younger woman, I had all sorts of notions about love. The funny thing about preconceived ideas is that life has a funny way of making mincemeat of all our lofty thoughts on such matters. Today is Valentine’s Day; a day that in modern time is about showing our love for that special person. Or a day which in our culture can sometimes be summed up simply, if you love someone you must spend money and if your gifts are proved to be lacking there may not be much more love in your future. Of course, the messages are even worse if one does not have that special person in their life. After all, who will send you a dozen of roses? Or treat you to a fancy dinner and shower you with oodles of gifts and curl your toes with hot steamy sex? Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is filled with heavy expectations and when they aren’t met, it’s a ride on the emotional roller coaster.
Having run off at 18 to get married and having remarried again at 24, I have to say that Valentine’s Day has never been that big of a deal for me since I have pretty much been partnered for most of my adult Valentine’s Days. The funny thing is one of my earliest dates with the current Man Unit of 17 years was on Valentine’s Day. I must say he did it up right with all the bells and whistles but the truth is even if he hadn’t, the odds are that he probably would still be my wing-man.
Over the years as we have seen our fortunes rise and fall, the importance of Valentine’s Day has lessened for me. Love is shown continuously in how we choose to live and how we treat our partners and ourselves. In the early years of my relationship with the Man Unit, I didn’t love myself enough so the Man Unit’s love was strong enough to sustain us for the love I didn’t know how to give myself. It’s why I had to focus on the exterior things that he was able to give me and why when those things didn’t meet my notions of what love should be, I was crushed.
In choosing to share my life with another, it’s interesting to watch how love changes over the years. Years ago, I needed that big bag from Vicky’s Secrets and a spa visit to feel loved. Now I need very little because knowing that I have a person who allows me the freedom to roam and find myself, always trusting that I will come back to home base is far more valuable than that pink bag ever was. Waking up each day to the smell of coffee massaging my nose from the first floor is the ultimate in love because the Man Unit hates mornings and gets up early to accommodate me. Love was shown when he walked away from the lure of six figures and an upward career trajectory to be here for me and my son in Maine. Love is the times, he put his needs last to put mine first and I learned love when I put my needs last to put his first. Love is a dance of constant give and take where each partner takes the lead as needed. Love is the times when you go broke together literally but can stay up until 4 am making love and still find the joy in life when really from the outside looking in; others might say that you should be crying.
This isn’t quite the post, I had in mind when I sat down, but that’s life, it never goes quite the way we plan. To love another fully and completely, I believe we must love ourselves fiercely and passionately. Loving oneself is to know yourself and to trust in the wisdom that you hold and not allow others to define you. So on this Valentine’s Day, no matter what your relationship status, show love to yourself first and foremost and if there is a special person/s in your love, be willing to dance the dance of love and don’t worry about the external factors. Flowers are lovely and trust me I love em, but they die and eating out tonight is overrated, most restaurants are packed and overpriced.
To love…that which keeps this journey vibrant.