He used to say we didn't need Valentine's Day. That our love was so special, it could be celebrated in any day that ended in "y." That flowers, chocolates, shoes ... such gifts shouldn't be relegated to one day a year, but rather showered upon the object of one's affection on a random Tuesday, because 365 was just about the right number of days per year to celebrate how special we were.
But then one day, I realized random Tuesdays never happened.
It will be exactly 10 years tomorrow that I finally relinquished my grip on marriage. Things started falling apart in December. In January, it became clear that there was someone else. February rolled around and I was done trying to compete.
In a moment, I made the decision to do something good for me instead of beating my heart against a brick wall. And 10 years later, I'm the same girl while simultaneously so completely different.
That night, I chose to surround myself with music and love. My life became a quest for more, an opportunity to find my edges. See, once you fail at something you thought you could not fail at - like marriage - failure becomes so much less scary. I started doing things. I started trusting myself and those around me.
I started living.
I took huge bites out of life - sometimes more than I could chew at a time! But in 10 years, I've propelled myself forward in my career. I've discovered things I truly love to do. I've learned so much. And yes, I've become an athlete.
I have actually improved the health of my heart. What was once broken can, indeed be filled.
The years have not passed in a vacuum. Truth be told, I don't think I would have survived without you, dear friend. Whether you've been the one who answered the phone in the middle of the night, or you proofread my resume when I was trying to figure out how to afford important things like a roof over my head, or you've bought me dinner, or played me a song, or just listened to me ramble, man do I owe yo all the gratitude. Your willingness to love me through it has allowed me to become something more than I was a decade ago.
Human beings have relentless capacity to become something they currently are not. We're more than resilient; when untethered, we are unstoppable. And as I stare down the barrel of 50, I'm grateful to have discovered all this about myself ... and I'm oh, so ready to see who I become in the next 10.
Happy Independence Day to you.