Love Is All That Matters
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” Oscar Wilde
This February 14th, I woke up and felt LOVE. You might expect just the opposite considering after all, it is Valentine’s Day and I am single. According to the expectations set forth by this sensationalized and commercialized holiday, I should probably have spent the day pouting. However, for some crazy reason, I was feeling just the opposite.
I took a hot shower and I couldn’t help but to spend the early morning reflecting on love. I turned off the shower, wrapped myself in a towel and started writing about what love really means to me.
Forgiveness. Love is being hurt and still choosing forgiveness over feelings of regret and resentment. It means welcoming people back into your life because you know that life is way too short! Without forgiveness, you risk closing the door to some pretty amazing experiences and moments in this lifetime that you would have otherwise missed out on. “There is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love.”
Parents. Love is waking up to a text message from your dad at 6 am that reads, “Happy Valentine’s Day, I love you.” In so many ways knowing he has far exceeded in the dad role, while in others ways recognizing where he has fallen short. Regardless of all that we have been through in the past, love is knowing that his daughter is one of the first things that comes to mind the morning on Valentine’s Day! This was a reminder that as a dad, he truly loves his children with everything that he has and sometimes that is enough.
Love is my mom, who despite her incredibly busy life (which includes trying to sell her home in North Carolina so she can move back to Florida, taking care of her family and looking after her rescue dogs), still takes the time to show others how important they are to her. Even though she continuously spreads herself thin between her three daughters, two grandchildren, her husband and her pets, she is always there for me. When I recently texted her that I want her to come visit me in Austin next month, she immediately and excitedly responded that she was already looking at dates. Despite how independent I have always been, and how far away I am from my parents geographically, LOVE is knowing that if I need them, they will be there at the drop of a hat.
Friendship. Love is friendship. And I’m not talking about the superficial kind. What I mean is the type of friend who just knows you-and knows that sometimes the only thing you need is their company. To me, this means many things. The supportive roommate that will jump out of her own bed at 11:30 pm to come lounge in your bed and chat with you when you come in from a long day-just to see how you’re doing and check in on how your day was. Or the kind of friend that just gets you and understands you, who is there when you need her the most, as are you are for her.
Love is the two best friends that have been in my life since I was twelve years old. Despite the fact that both of them live hundreds of miles away, they each took the time to send me an early morning “Happy Valentine’s Day” Bitmoji. (The same one, to be exact). Love is knowing that no matter what, you will always have two forever friends to lean upon. I’m so grateful for these friendships that can survive any amount of time and distance and are so strong that they cannot even be put into words.
Pets. Love is waking up each morning to the three most loving (and spoiled-rotten dogs) who come before anything else in your life. Love is knowing that even though your oldest pup is getting pretty old (and I’ve recently had to make some changes in order to make him more comfortable,) your life is better because of him. Love is acknowledging a pet’s life can be relatively short and unpredictable, but one thing pets never fall short on is unconditional love!
Letting Go. Love is knowing that for the first time in ten years, you won’t be receiving flowers from someone that you love–and somehow being okay with that. As I have matured, I have realized that sometimes the greatest love of all requires letting go. Just because two people love each other doesn’t necessarily mean things will work out. When two people live in two totally different worlds, sometimes it just impossible for those worlds to sync up-but that doesn’t make anybody the bad guy. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. It means accepting that there may actually be a partner out there who is better suited for each one of you–while still knowing that you will always share a special bond that can never be broken.
Loving Yourself. Last but certainly not least, the absolute greatest love that you can experience in this life is loving yourself. It does not matter what lengths you have to go to achieve this kind of love. My best advice is to risk it all, because it is worth it. Whether that means starting over, quitting your status-quo job or moving across the country to create a new beginning for yourself. All that matters is that you work hard, pick up the pieces, be unafraid of being vulnerable, and live your life the way that YOU have always imagined it-guilt free! Welcome new friendships, but also be sure to spend some time alone.
Love is when you are so sure about the decisions that you are making for your own life, that you no longer need anyone else’s approval! It took me 30 years to come to this realization, and there is nothing in the world that I would trade for this wild journey that I am on. I urge you to keep moving forward, put one foot in front of the other, and experience LOVE (in some way) every single day of this life. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on the love that is present in your life everyday and always be grateful!
I woke up this morning “alone” on Valentine’s Day, but ironically I’ve never felt more love in my life.