Today is a special day. It is my one year anniversary of being a single woman and of dedicating my time to falling in love with myself rather than placing my worth into the hands of someone else. I decided the morning after the end of a 1 year, 7 month relationship that I was going to live that day for me and not look back. Inevitably, there were times of looking back. Times of wondering, and a lot of time needed for healing. But that decision to live each moment for me and for my life has stuck with me every single day since then.
I am exactly one month away from my 21st birthday. I started a relationship the summer I turned 17 that lasted for 1 year, 4 months. Less than a month later, I was in the aforementioned relationship. I spent three years of my life, my senior year of high school and first two years of university, in relationships. That amazes me now. I loved those years and I loved those boys, but looking back I am amazed at how little I was really living for me.
So today I am celebrating my past year, my love affair with myself, and all of the great moments and experiences that I have had, as well as the learning experiences that have made me stronger and wiser.
Last summer I started learning a lot about nutrition and dedicated myself to exercise and eating healthy. I learned that I love the feeling of sore muscles after a day of lifting, and that I feel great when I eat right.
At the very end of August 2008 I moved to Barcelona, Spain for 4 months to study and I experienced so much, both externally and internally, that I am still processing the changes that that time brought in me. It's still amazing to me that I fulfilled a dream of going to Spain and living in another country- both things that I have wanted to do since I was probably 7 or 8 years old- and only have increased desire to learn and explore other places.
Winter of 2009 was tough for me; things weren't the same as I had left them and I didn't know where I fit in my Chicago life anymore. I learned the value of a few close friends, and how good it feels to go to bed early and wake up early every day. I was very productive and spent a lot of time with myself, reflecting and thinking.
This spring and summer so far have been incredible- I have my own adventures, when I want them, and have been doing a lot of things spontaneously. I am also slowly figuring out how to let my inner perfectionist go and to just be and to love me. Toward the end of March, I stopped wearing makeup regularly. From ages 11-20 I would not leave the house without makeup; now I only put it on for a special occasion. When I look in the mirror every morning I like who I see.
I have also met a lot of great people, stayed close with my friends, and look forward to my half marathon training and days at the beach.
I have finally learned to love myself exactly as I am right now. It isn't always easy, but every morning when I wake up I tell myself 'I love you' and make a conscious decision to enjoy my entire day. I am living more simply, and can't remember the last time I did anything to my hair but comb it. Gone is the need to impress, or the fear that I'm not good enough exactly as I am.
Wish I had a better camera at the moment. But it's all good, I know I look great.
I make decisions for myself now. I don't feel the need to consult with anyone, and I am living in line with my values. I became vegetarian, and then vegan. If I don't feel like going out one night, I don't and I don't feel guilty about it. When I exercise it's because of how great it makes me feel, not because I am desperately trying to lose weight or look 'right'. I cook delicious dinners for myself and enjoy them immensely. I started this blog, I create art a lot more, and I just started a company with a friend of mine (more on that soon!).
Sure, all of this would have been possible while in a relationship, but I needed to figure it out on my own and be secure in my love for myself before falling in love again with someone else. I am so happy and know that I am fortunate to have fallen in love twice already in my life. I have also fallen out of love twice, and know that I can get through it. I also know that I will never fall out of love with myself. Every day I am working toward being the person I want to be and loving the person I am.
So today I am celebrating. It is such a gorgeous day. I woke up early, had a delicious breakfast, and went to the gym. I plan on spending the afternoon in a park reading The Virgin's Lover (I love historical fiction, and am fascinated by the Tudor family..these books are incredible) and/or drinking margaritas with a friend of mine. Then tonight I have an ultimate frisbee game and will be going to Piece Pizza and Brewery afterward for the free pizza and good company. I absolutely love my life and I love me.
What do you do to celebrate yourself?