And I said, ‘What about a ring from Tiffany’s?’

We all know that I love jewelry and, like most people, attach a certain meaning to each piece I wear. Whether it’s a gift from a family member, friend, boyfriend or something I chose and created for myself, knowing that each piece has a story behind it — even if it’s only significant to me — is important.

So last fall, thick in the middle of a rather low point in recent memory, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit California with some girlfriends last November. We all remember I was feeling low, dejected, bored and listless — frustrated that my life had gotten “off track.” Heading to Los Angeles (from my home in Maryland) was a really, really uncharacteristic thing for me to do, but it seemed like the right call. My hands shook as I purchased the plane ticket and asked for time off at work, but the gnawing urge to get away was too strong for me to ignore.

Once in L.A., my friends and I ambled along Wilshire Boulevard and looked at all the pretty storefronts full of shiny things. After window shopping for most of the afternoon, my breath caught as one of the ladies suggested detouring into Tiffany & Co. With my scuffed flip-flops and flyaway hair, I wasn’t exactly feeling like a member of the “elite” clientele — but I went in, anyway.

And when the girls started trying on rings, all of us admiring the way the silver flashed in the California light, I tried some on, too.

And when my friends began to earnestly ask the cost of some of the rings and share meaningful looks with me, seeming to ask me a question, I smiled back.

We all bought rings at Tiffany that day — something I would never have imagined myself doing. The silver band with tiny “xoxo” in a repeating pattern fits perfectly on the middle finger of my right hand, its home for the past four months. I wear it every single day and, despite having rarely worn a ring on that finger before, I now feel naked without it. Take a peek at any photo of me and you’ll probably see it — just a flash of silver on my hand.

Every time I look down, I remind myself of everything I want from life — and how I’m going to get it. It’s become a symbol of everything unpredictable and glorious about living, and helps me remember to take risks and step outside of what’s comfortable and familiar. Because I went to California, 3,000 miles away! I healed my broken heart! I kept living and moving and breathing!

Nothing could mean more to me than an expensive ring I own . . . and bought myself. In the most cliche sense imaginable, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.