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Do you remember your very first date? Mine was…painful. Looking back on it now, I cringe a little less and laugh a little more about it, but it wasn’t a good experience all the way around.

 

I was a sophomore in high school. I had been working at the local grocery store for a few months, and one of my coworkers kept asking me out. Truthfully, I wasn’t attracted to him in any way, but my mom convinced me to say yes. We came to Dothan to see a movie in the old Circle West Theater (fun fact: that’s where my mom had her first kiss). The drive over and the movie were so awkward. I truly had nothing to talk about with this poor guy. We saw How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and didn’t have dinner. I said I had filled up on movie snacks.

 

I feel like I’ve learned a lot about love and relationships over the past 34 years. I’ve dated more than one guy who was only trying to get closer to one of my friends. My dad had to get involved when an ex wouldn’t leave me alone. Even scarier was the nice guy who basically stalked me in college. I’ve experienced unrequited love, been cheated on, and had a relationship that I kept secret from pretty much everyone (sorry, Mom).

If I could go back in time and give my younger self dating advice, it would be this:

 

1) Do not go out with someone you’re not into just because someone else says you should, even if it’s your own mother.

2) Don’t try to put a time limit on a relationship.

3) You are not a bad person for saying no to someone who mistakes kindness or friendship as something more.

4) If none of your loved ones like your significant other, you should at least consider why.

 

February may be known as the month of love, but here at Wiregrass Parents it’s the month of healthy decision making. Some healthy changes I’ve made recently: swapping to aluminum-free deodorant, starting my day with juice instead of caffeine, drinking more water, and blocking out time for some type of activity every day (even if it’s just stretching).

 

Inside this month’s issue, you’ll find resources to get your kids active and healthy. Our Healthy Kids Resource Guide is your one-stop shop for not only area doctors and dentists but also active entertainment and kids fitness. We’ve also got expert advice on how to Stop the Food Battles & Expand Your Picky Eater’s Palate and Great Apps That Can Help Your Kids Stay Mentally and Physically Fit.

 

I hope this February is filled with love and laughter for your family. Valentine’s Day, like all our recent holidays, will look different this year, but those new experiences can lead to the best memories. I think French novelist Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin (pen name: George Sand) said it best when she wrote, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”

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Ashton Wright
Author: Ashton Wright

Ashton is the publisher of Wiregrass Parents magazine. A lifelong resident of the Wiregrass, she grew up in Blakely, Ga. Her love of journalism began on her high school newspaper and continued at Troy University where she received her print journalism degree. After graduating, she worked with WTVY-TV for nearly a decade. She and her husband, Chris, have been married since 2012. They have one daughter, Alexis, as well as a dog, Jackson, and a cat, Cooper.

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by Ashton Wright time to read: 3 min