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Why you should be your own Valentine this year

It’s that day again: your birthday or Valentine’s Day, a special day in most years. Except this year, you’re not in a serious relationship or you and your husband are on the outs. This year, there’s just no one coming through the door with presents.

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Wait! There’s someone who’s always here — you.

What would happen if you gave yourself a present?

It’s not the same thing, you argue. No, it’s not. So don’t make it the same thing. Don’t go for flowers or chocolate or sparkly earrings. Any normal present may feel like a weak carbon copy of one you might receive from someone else — because you’ll know you gave it to yourself.

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Let’s step up your gift-giving game. What’s something stunning that no one else would think to give you? What will make you smile even a week or a month after your special day?

Want a hint? For my 50th birthday, I gave myself swimming lessons. Raised in Chicago to poor parents, I never had a chance to learn to swim. Sure, it was different being the only adult in a group of kids, but I learned I was a natural swimmer. And now, when I’m near the ocean, all I can think is, “Go, girl, go!”

What about you? Have you always wanted to learn to sing? What about art lessons? Wouldn’t it be great if you learned to make pottery on the wheel?

You could give yourself something special. Before you protest, “but it’s not the same if I give it to me,” ask yourself:  What if it’s better — giving something you truly want to yourself? Maybe this is the lesson you need to learn this year.

Wouldn’t that be something that would make you smile for a long time?

Your gift doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be the decision to take a 30-minute walk every day or to work out at least three days a week at the gym. Take a class about something new — have you always wanted to learn fiction writing? You can find some great online classes or check out the opportunities at local businesses and community colleges.

Here’s an idea to help you brainstorm: For my upcoming 65th birthday, I’m giving myself a hiking tour of the Almalfi Coast. Now that’s a gift.

Got the idea? Enjoy finding — and gifting yourself — something you really love. Happy birthday or Valentine’s Day. You deserve it.

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