I was in the women’s locker room at my gym this morning and I overheard a conversation between two women.

My guess is that one woman was in her 40’s and the other in her late 50’s or early 60’s. The older woman asked the younger woman if she had any plans for Valentine’s Day. The younger woman responded, “Oh, I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day. It’s a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ so I don’t pay any attention to it. How about you?”

The older woman looked up and said, “Through the years, I have learned to take advantage of any opportunity to celebrate.”

She went on to say that every year, she makes a conscious effort to celebrate herself. She said that sometimes she’ll go to the store and buy something new or call up a friend to enjoy a nice dinner out.

“I just love this day because I make it about me and my appreciation for who I am,” the older woman continued.” In life, celebrating ourselves is important.”

After hearing this woman speak, it gave me pause. I loved this woman’s attitude – it made so much sense. At its core, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love – and couldn’t we always use a bit more of that? Why not take a moment and show yourself the gratitude you so freely demonstrate to those you love?

After work today, I have decided that I will go into the city, take a nice long walk and then treat myself to some flowers. Bright, yellow roses. Yup, I am going to celebrate me and what makes me smile.

I hope that this year, you don’t think of today as a ‘Hallmark Holiday.’ Instead, I hope you are able to celebrate a day that is devoted to love. I hope that today, you make yourself the center of your Valentine’s Day.

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Cindy Hale is Walden’s Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Engagement. In this role, Cindy is instrumental in our growth strategy and trajectory. She serves as our brand steward, helping us to refine our brand and elevate awareness while continuing to enhance the employee and consumer experience. Previously, Cindy has been the President of OTW/Fuseideas, Director of Marketing for Boston Children’s Hospital and most recently, the Senior Vice President of KHJ Brand Activation. Cindy is an ardent supporter of Dana Farber serving as co-captain for the PMC Team Flames which has raised close to $5M for cancer research.