Lately I’ve had to stop caring. Not like in this tragic life has no meaning kind of way – I mean that I don’t care what other people think about my life choices. And it’s made me ridiculously happy.
I’ve spent years inconveniencing myself for other people. YEARS. And I’m not saying everyone should start living these incredibly selfish lives and not lift a finger to help anyone ever, but I am saying that I would generally do something that would put myself at a disadvantage in order to make someone else happy or like me more.
One example – I was scheduling my workouts around when my workout buddies could join me, sometimes taking an extra hour of my day because I was waiting for them to get done with whatever they were doing. Sometimes, not a big deal. But on a daily basis, not cool. I want to get home so I can eat the food I’ve been drooling over all day on Pinterest. I want to watch my cat do indoor parkour, and continue the Seinfeld marathon with my husband. I want to work on at least one of my writing projects, take a shower, and be able to read a few chapters of A Darker Shade of Magic (have you guys read this – it’s amazing!). And I really want to get at least six hours of sleep so I can do the whole thing over again the next day.
But I feel so goddamned guilty whenever I just go for what works best for me, because I know that sometimes in life you need another person to help get you through whatever it is you’re going through. I’ve had people help me get into a fitness routine, and it really is easier to do with a partner. But there is a point when you can only give so much, before it crosses that line into resentment.
Working out is just one example, but I’ve started saying, “Hey, I’m going to the gym at this time and doing this routine if you want to join me there.” Not when it works for you, but when I can do it. Occasionally I’ll be flexible, but I’ve had so much more time to get the things done that I’ve needed to get done, and I haven’t honestly lost a workout buddy – I just haven’t been angry with them because I’m not longer waiting, and if anything I feel like we’re getting more workouts in.
Another example? I dyed my hair green – something I was hesitant to do because I was worried it would make me look unprofessional. (It didn’t, and I also don’t interact face to face with the public so I could be entirely green and it wouldn’t matter.) I started working on a writing collaboration with a good friend and when I’m excited about it, I decline getting lunch with my coworkers because I’d rather work on a chapter for a day. I have a friend I watch a TV show with, and I’ve had to push that back because I need to pack so I can move into a new house.
I’ve been supporting my husband’s new diet by doing it with him, which means no gluten and hardly any dairy. You know who loves gluten and dairy? Everyone. Every work function I’ve had in the past two months since starting this diet has included these two things. You know who gives you dirty looks when you don’t eat their gluten and dairy? Everyone who organized the event without asking if everyone could eat/wanted to eat some stale cookies that were on sale at the grocery store. You know who doesn’t give a fuck? This girl who has happened to lose five pounds and has a happier, healthier husband who doesn’t feel alone as he has had to undergo this lifestyle change.
Because why are we making ourselves upset or feel like crap to make someone else feel better? Why are we sacrificing our goals, our ambitions to accommodate someone else’s schedule? People might not approve, people might be irritated – but who cares? Asking someone else to give up a piece of their happiness is ridiculous, and I’d rather say at the end of the day that I did everything I could to be my happiest self and pursue my dreams than eat a cheap store-bought cookie I didn’t even ask for.