If you can’t be with the one you love, honey,
Love the one you’re with.
Love the one you’re with.

I’ve seen a few lingerie bloggers’ recommendations for Valentine’s Day goodies, and I’m thinking about love and what I’ll be doing for my Valentine this year. First, I should tell you what I did last year. Late last spring was a milestone anniversary for my spouse and me. I’m the less romantic of the two of us; I forget gift giving occasions with regularity. My sweetie is the opposite, and never fails to mark a birthday or Hallmark occasion with some expression of love.

As a surprise, I decided for Valentine’s Day to celebrate with a month of daily treats and surprises for him: breakfast in bed, a heart shaped cookie left on the pillow, making favorite dinners, leaving hand-written notes, a foot massage while watching TV, that sort of thing. I confess that some of the inspiration was an attempt to butter up my Valentine in the hopes of getting a pair of diamond earrings for our anniversary. The earrings never materialized, but it hardly mattered. I had fun planning a daily treat. It’s not easy to come up with something new each day, especially on a limited budget, but it was a great thing to do. I learned something about refreshing love with a commitment to acting in the best interests of the one you love. It became no longer what I would get out of it, but entirely what I could put into it.

This year, I’m thinking about what loving myself entails, particularly as the shape I inhabit isn’t my first choice. I’ll be my own Valentine for this month. Each day for the month of February, I’m doing something good for me. These are treats, surprises and good-for-me actions. Some are new routines and others are out of the ordinary, behaviors to get out of a rut and to remind me to love me by acting in the best interests of me. I haven’t given up on last year’s Valentine, but he still has that cellophane wrapped heart-shaped cookie, so that needs a new approach. In the meantime . . .

How do I love me? Let me count the 28 ways . . . .

  1. Started guitar lessons. Love this mind and want it to learn new things.
  2. Gave myself a manicure. Love these nails and need them short to play the guitar.
  3. Walked up eight flights of stairs to my office. Love these legs, and walking up 132 steps each work day will get them toned.
  4. Making a deposit into a Roth IRA. Love my future self, and I’ll appreciate that savings someday.
  5. Getting a Fitbit. Love this heart beating inside my chest, and going to treat it well with 10,000 steps per day.
  6. Getting my five servings of vegetables & fruit. Love this colon and giving it plenty of fiber.
  7. Exfoliate & moisturize. Love this skin I’m in with a Spa-At-Home day.

And so on, each day for the whole month. Ideas welcomed.

What I’ve learned just a few days in is that it takes exactly as much effort to love a body I’m less than thrilled with as it does to love one that is flawless. And I’m just as deserving with this shape as I’d be with any other.