Thursday, February 14, 2013


On Valentine's Day, I find thoughts of love still swirling about my head. I'm remembering great love that has danced through my life. I'm remembering the pain of heartbreak. And I'm remembering - with an intense sense of gratitude - the abundance of love in my present life.

It isn't love of romantic notions. There are no hearts and flowers. And yet, there is more love, greater love, than has ever been part of my life when I've been distracted by romance.

Beyond grateful, that's me. For the love of family and friends. For my health, my sense of joy. For Irish cheese and cold water. For air and wonder and coffee and music and dance.

For life.

It wasn't always this way. When I was married, Valentine's Day came and went like any other day, and after we split up (which happened for me on Valentine's Day, oddly enough) it was even worse. The constant reminders of happy couples made me want to poke myself in the eye. Repeatedly. With a dirty red-hot poker.

But that was 2006. As the years passed, a new Maggie began to emerge. So distinctly different from any of the other versions, because this one was truly content with being alone. Oh, no ... scratch that. Not alone; rather, willing to live without romantic entanglements in order to establish herself. And holy shit, have I ever done that.

I have (as the graphic above attests) followed my heart wherever it's been willing to take me. Most of the time, it begs me to quicken its cadence, so I take to the gym or the pool or the trail. I have literally transformed my heart (and my body) through taking care of it. I am more youthful now than I was seven years ago, at almost-40. Today, I'm careening toward 50 with a younger attitude than ever, because I have followed my heart.

I've followed it to a new job. I've followed it to a new (temporary) home with my sister, Pat. I've followed it toward new friendships that feel like family.

And so, love. In my single-ness, I'm better able to accept love, it seems. But I don't think it's my single-ness that gets the credit. No, I think my single-ness has allowed me to know, accept and fall madly in love with myself, and that has made me better able to love others.

I think that's a lovely thing.

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