So, Valentine's Day. Been and gone for another year, the 2017 version apparently indifferent to the efforts I've made hitting the treadmill and canning the trans-fats since January One.
Whoever manipulated Gregory’s Calendar, slotting the most romantic day of the year just six weeks after the holiday season, either had issues with women or a craving for curves. Either way, I hope they’re happy.
As the futile search for red-enveloped cards passed for another year (yes, I did the same pawing exercise on the doormat Saturday morning as I had Friday, “just in case” my unnamed Valentine hadn’t affixed enough postage), it signaled the last month and a half’s efforts officially unnoticed.
On my knees behind the front door, bills in hand and eye-to-eye with the letterbox, I began to wonder where my priorities had taken a left turn. Today’s blog post was going to be about lame Valentine’s gifts.
Fruitless, even chocolateless, Valentine’s Day
Given that this year bore no such fruit (I’d have given anything for the much-slated Walmart Gold-Plated 1/10 CARAT Diamond Necklace – or even enough chocolate to put back on just one of the festive pounds), I felt somewhat hypocritical after the first paragraph.
So, exactly where was the point that my life had veered off the Highway, but I’d missed the intersection?
I have three golden rules to live by. To try to help me fathom out my V-Day conundrum, I wrote them down. In truth, I’d been paying them lip service (no such luck with my Invisible Valentine!), but shown no real conviction to live my life by them.
My scribblings, I thought, would make a more apt post than one about lame Valentine’s gifts. And certainly one to pick me up rather than have me reaching for the similarly invisible box of chocolates every ten seconds.
My 3 Golden Rules of Womanhood
Priority #1: I’m doing this for me
When I looked at that first rule, I thought “Well, I got that covered. Gym, healthy diet; yeah, that’s all for me.”
But then I thought, “Is it? Is it REALLY?” Had I gained so much weight over the Holiday Season? Has my time at the gym really been focused on shedding those few extra pounds?
The answer was an out-and-out “No!”. I’d been going through the motions, trying to get myself into a shape that media defines as beautiful. And all for some fictitious man to perhaps notice in time for Valentine’s Day?
I know that true beauty shines from within. For me, that’s never more true than when I’m doing something I love. Which makes for:
Priority #2: Be passionate in everything you do
To be passionate about something, you have to enjoy it. The most pleasing results from any pastime, whether it’s creative or simple, come when you’ve put your heart and soul into it.
I had been stoked about losing weight when I signed up to the gym. I thought that would be enough to carry me through. And true enough, I’m a little more supple than before and maybe one or two pounds lighter.
However, when I hadn’t achieved a Kate Moss figure in a fortnight, that fire began to dwindle.
In the early part of January, I was running to the gym, eager to do my circuits. More recently I’ve been running out of the gym, straight into the car and leaving my workout sheet half checked on the last apparatus that didn’t look like it could leave me in traction.
Do I feel guilty? There’s no time to, not according to:
Priority #3: Don’t feel guilty about feeling guilty
Is it wrong to make yourself your number one priority? When I decided to shed the festive excess, it meant sacrificing other things, time with friends (in hindsight) being the most precious.
I did feel that I was cutting some friends out of the social loop with my blinkered fitness drive. They either had good reasons they couldn’t join me or they simply didn’t need to. I’ve not decided what rule # “envy” will be yet.
Even when they tried to tell me I didn’t need to lose weight, I either thought that they were just being polite or had ulterior motives for trying to keep me in the circle. Yes, that sounds a little vain, but I’ve got a great post about that coming up in a fortnight.
So, according to rule #3, I didn’t feel guilty because I was doing this all for me.
Only it turns out now that maybe that’s not the case. My entire effort had gone towards pleasing a man I’d (probably) yet to meet and had, in effect, dropped some of my girlfriends on a whim. Or at least a fool’s errand.
So, where does this leave me?
Okay. The girls have all had a great laugh at my expense this weekend for all that effort and nothing to show for it. Fair enough. I perhaps deserve that.
But my thoughts on Valentine’s Day? If the guy who decided to slip the most romantic day of the year in so soon after Christmas is about next year, I may get something going with him.
If not, and I decide to hit the gym in the New Year next year, I know I’ll be doing it for me and no one else. Now that might just spur me on to bigger smaller and better things!
The Editorial Team
Photo Credits - (Header) CC: 'One Simple Smile' by Alessandro Pautasso - (Sidebar) CC: 'Behind the Scenes with Aveda' by Chris Isherwood
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