Prelude: As I sit here in a coffee shop in Arizona, not recognizing a single face, I remembered a piece I wrote (and never showed anyone) almost exactly a year ago in Chattanooga, Tn after moving away from my hometown for the first time. I reread it and felt like I should share it with you guys. I didn't change a single word from the original copy.
Why a car full of boxes and your hometown in your rearview mirror should happen to you at least once.
Go to the nearest commercial shop near you, whether it be a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, what have you. Go in and sit down. Now look to your left and then to your right. How many familiar faces do you see? In fact, how many people did you see that you either know or have seen before whilst taking the journey to your destination?
Maybe it was 3 or maybe it was 20. The point is, you’re too comfortable and you won’t realize what that means until you walk out of your apartment and go to a local coffee shop and not recognize a single face along the way.
Yes, being comfortable and surrounded by people who know you broke a high school track record senior year and played a mean clarinet in the middle school band is cushy and warm, but it’s also the same town where people know your ex is still texting you but also hooking up with your best friend and that you peed your pants passed out on a couch at a frat party once. You may feel like all of these people make you who you are and without that group of friends you grew up riding bikes around the neighborhood with you would be lost.
Us - Them = You
Guess what. You will be. That’s the point. Us – Them = You. I’m not saying “Hey drop all of your friends and go sit in a room alone,” (btw the latter of those two is definitely part of the process) but try living somewhere you have no one to impress, no one to judge you based upon your past and no one with expectations. You’ll find yourself being forced to get to know yourself. No distractions. No excuses. Just you and the old soul figuring each other out. Go buy that knitting kit you’ve always wanted to try but knew your friends would make fun of you for. End up hating it? Cool, go find something else you like doing. This isn’t a time to hold back.
The first time I heard someone talk about being selfish as a positive stage of life was from my ex-boyfriend about two months before he broke up with me. Talk about foreshadowing.
Before that I always thought being selfish was negative. Life was always about my friends and having fun. In no way am I advocating never being selfless and never putting your friends first, but think about it. You’re going to get married one day, have kids and then grandkids and that’s beautiful and I don’t condemn that at all, but once that part of your life commences ZERO decisions are made on your own and for your own personal growth only. This short (or long) period of time between school and “settling down” is the time to get the selfishness out of your system so it doesn’t hit you on your 40th birthday that you actually have no idea who you are.
Do things for you. An opportunity opens up and you don’t know if you should take it because you’ll be leaving your significant other behind? Ask yourself if in about ten years you’ll look back and regret not taking it. Are you making the decision for you or for your relationships? Everything deserves balance. Take care of your relationships. Don’t sabotage something genuine and real for something that isn’t weighing heaving on your soul.
You know yourself better than anyone else, and you’re going to know yourself way better after you spend some time being selfish.
Get uncomfortable, make decisions for your soul and get ready for a journey to know yourself and how you fit in the crazy world around you. It will be hard, but you will come out stronger and with a new sense of appreciation for home and yourself that can't be replaced.