I love Valentine’s Day.
I feel like it’s not cool to unabashedly love Valentine’s Day. “It’s a Hallmark holiday,” the people say. I don’t know who “the people” are, but I feel like that’s what they say. That it’s cheesy. It’s forced. It’s too much pink.
But do you know what I love? Cheese. Love. Pink.
Every year when I worked at Dance Spirit, we went all out on Valentine’s Day. We never planned it, but the entire staff always showed up to work on February 14 wearing varying shades of red and pink. And we always took a group photo in the conference room, and it always made me so happy.
I always told significant others that “I don’t care about Valentine’s Day” and “You don’t have to send me flowers.” I’m just soooooo chill! I’m not like other girls!
I was a liar.
I do care. I love flowers. I’m not a big material gift person, but dang it if I don’t love a big bouquet of roses and chocolates and knowing that someone thought about me just enough to go to a website and enter my address. (And, probably, pay a ridiculously inflated price because surely that’s a Valentine’s Day fare hike.) And if “other girls” love Valentine’s Day, then fine, I am, in fact, “other girls.”
Working at a magazine, we always had to plan our Valentine’s Day print content months in advance. The beauty of the print publishing industry: working on holiday gift guides in the summer, and whipping up Valentine’s Day desserts for photo shoots right around Halloween.
One year, our big theme for the “health and body” section of the magazine was “How to Healthify Your Valentine’s Day.” We thought we were geniuses. We were all in our mid-twenties, and we thought telling our teen readers to make dark chocolate and fruit kebabs was downright brilliant.
And OK, the kebabs weregood. We tested them out ourselves. (Tough work, but we were happy to do it!)
Nearly 10 years later, I still see that same content on every holiday. We all do, right? And while some of the food swaps make sense or are great or actually do taste better (I prefer my onion dip with Greek yogurt over sour cream! But I refuse to swap my Wavy Lays potato chips for anything else), I find most of it a bit eye-rolly. To each their own, but I’m fine with going all-in on holiday goodies every single year. And the leftovers.
What’s my point?
This year, Adidas asked me to share a post about what having a healthy Valentine’s Day means to me. I’m 33 now. My diet kinda sucks, especially as a new mom, and I work out, but I’m a little lazy about it at the moment. (The other day at Orangetheory, we were supposed to alternate between standing exercises and on-the-ground ones, and once I got onto the ground, I just never got back up. I was fine. Just lazy!)
I have no intentions of making fruit kebabs for any member of my family or myself this year, and if Brian decides to send me my favorite — dark chocolate covered green apple slices — I will willingly eat the entire box and then lie to him and say they never arrived which is why I have none to share.
So how do I make my holiday healthy?
This year: by slowing down. By sitting down. By taking deep breaths. By taking Ellie for a great walk and letting Annie nap in my arms instead of in her crib.
My definition of a healthy day has changed pretty drastically over the past few years. I used to think having a healthy day meant a gut-busting workout (10 miles or more!) and a lot of rushing around trying to get everything done.
I measured my health in how much I was doing, and more always meant better.
Last year, Brian and I went out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed an absolutely insane eight-course meal in Manhattan that was so delicious, so decadent, and so fun.
We were coming off a tough year. Brian had been working and traveling a lot. I had been sick, stressed, and depressed. It was a hard year for each of us, and, unsurprisingly, a tough year for our marriage.
By Valentine’s Day, things had gotten so much better. We had the best date night, all planned by Brian. (I love not planning!) Each course came with a wine pairing, and I couldn’t even keep up. (Brian picked up my slack. So generous.)
I remember laughing the entire way home, feeling happier than I’d felt in so long. Giddy in love, sure, and perhaps a little giddy in wine.
The next morning, on February 15, I felt weird. And not just hungover.
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Some runs are amazing and magical and some runs suck and feel impossible. But having a good friend around for either can make the good better and the bad not actually terrible. And that is also how life works! (Thank you, dear @runningbun, for letting me complain for five miles, two hours, dozens of walk breaks, and hundreds of self-timer photo attempts and subsequent fails.) . #seenonmyrun #instarunners #aliontherunshow #runnersofinstagram #jumpshotfail
Turns out, I was pregnant. February 15 was the day I found out we were going to become a family of four. (IT’S PROBABLY FINE THAT I HAD ALL THAT WINE THE NIGHT BEFORE…)
Valentine’s Day holds a happy place in my heart. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we found out Annie was on the way.
So now, one year later, if having a newborn has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t obsess so much over plans. I need to quell my expectations sometimes. And instead of speeding up — instead of the 10-mile run — I actually need to slow down.
As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I’ve given into the fact that health is more than physical. This is obvious, I know. But I’ve resisted.
So this Valentine’s Day, I’ll be going all-in on love. Love for Annie. Love for Ellie. Love for Brian. And love — and kindness — for myself. All I want in life is to make other people happy. To spread love. To make other people laugh, smile, and feel good. But I’m putting this on the internet as a sign of my commitment:
This Valentine’s Day, I will do one nice thing for myself. TBD what that is. I have a few hours to decide!
My challenge to you: Do the same. Everyone is else fine. Take care of you.
And try to keep up with the wine pairings!
This post is sponsored by Adidas. See all those cute clothes?! Go buy them!