Happy Valentine’s Day to ME

Woah, today is the day!  It’s our second Eat All The Chocolate day after Halloween, which also makes tonight “Eat All Your Feelings” Eve!

Today is Valentine’s Day.  We’re here to celebrate the illegal weddings performed by the Christian Saint Valentinus.  We’re here to celebrate our lovers, family, and friends.  We’re here to celebrate the incredible marketing by card and candy companies.

No, today we’re here to celebrate me.  And by me, I mean you.

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Let’s talk about heart.  The heart’s important.  Like, REALLY important.  It does some really cool things, like keeping you the alive.  I know, there are some other things that are going on, but the heart is the engine room of your body.

Assuming that they checked scientific facts in Rent, there are 525,600 minutes in a year, and if your resting heart rate is 60bpm, that means your heart beats 31,536,000.  31 million heart beats in a year.  Assuming you’re not always resting, it’s going to beat a few times more than that.  All of those beats help to push oxygenated blood through your body, and your body will take 22,000 breaths per day to maintain that oxygen supply.  Considering those giant numbers, that box of 50 chocolates doesn’t seen so big after all.

All of those heart beats and breaths are great, but they’re not all that important.  They simply tell you that you’re alive.  Why aren’t they important?  Just because you’re alive doesn’t mean you’re living.  A quote from Benjamin Franklin floats through my head as a reminder of this:

Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.

This isn’t about the quantity of heart beats or the quality of breaths, but about what you’re doing with them.  What are those breaths for?

Last night I was able to watch what have become my two favorite Olympic sports, figure skating and slopestyle skiing.  I appreciate both of them because of the inherent grace and creativity in both.  It’s not simply about physical capacity, but about movement.  They both recognize the art in sport.

Just as the men’s short program was about to start, the first skater pulled out.  After a rather rough landing during the warm-up period, he was seen wearing a grimace, with a hand held to his back.  As he skated over to the officials to deliver his decision, you could see the pain in his face.

It wasn’t just the pain of a back injury.  As a 31 year old skater, his career was filled with injuries, and subsequent surgeries.  No, this was the pain of realizing that he was unable to do the thing he loved the most.

The skater was Russia’s Evegni Plushenko, considered by many to be the best in the world.  In a short career highlight played just before the vent, he was heard saying that he “skates to make my wife and boys proud.”

He slowly skated to the center of the ice, and the crowd began to cheer.  The initial announcement of his withdrawl was in English, and the mostly Russian crowd expected him to skate.  As the announcer switched to Russian, the crowd understood, and the cheers…grew louder.  Plushenko received a standing ovation, not only in Sochi, but 5,301 miles away, in New York.

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As the broadcast returned to the slopestyle course, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky Evegni was.   Lucky?  He just pulled out of his 4th Olympics with the ability to become the most decorated figure skater of all time.  How was he lucky?

He’s lucky because he does what he loves.

Years of doing what he loves took its toll on his body, but he was doing what he loves.  While it may have taken a beating on his body, he took care of his mind.  That’s something that not many of us are successful with today.

How well do you take care of yourself?  No, don’t measure it.  Consider the quality with which you treat yourself.  What do you do to make yourself feel better today, and more importantly, in the future.  There’s a difference between surviving and thriving.  Are you alive, or are you living?

While we spend Valentine’s Day focusing on our loved ones, don’t forget the most important person.  You.  Take a moment for yourself.  Take a moment to celebrate what who you are, what you’ve done, and what means the most to you.  If this is a new or challenging thought, perhaps there’s more time to spend celebrating you.

If Valentine’s Day is about love, don’t forget to celebrate yourself.  Be it a minute of meditation or a whole day to yourself, embrace you.

Earlier today, I took a moment to celebrate Valentine’s Day in my favorite way ever:

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Sure, Valentine’s Day is about spreading love to those around you, but let’s make it about celebrating you.  There’s nothing wrong with spending time with those you love, but if you’re nailing it, you should be doing that anyway.  We’re far less likely to celebrate ourselves than those we love.  Celebrate them while celebrating you.

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