Edited to add: Two extra thoughts for you today, my friends:
1) I am proud to be a runner and a marathoner. Whether you run or you know someone that does (thus everyone), today we are Boston Strong. More so than any other day, today I wear my MCM Jacket with the greatest love and admiration for the triumph of the human spirit. Today, I invite you all to be bigger than yourself by being selfish and going for a run. Do something that moves you.
2) OOoooh and happy Tax Day, American friends! Don’t be so selfish you don’t pay your taxes. NOT beneficial, though it may be strategic.
Since my last few #treatyourselftuesday posts have really been focused on material goods, and yesterday’s post (as well as everyone else) frequently discussed the weather, I thought it was high time to treat YOU guys to some of my gifts: my ability to think deep thoughts.
Ps, weather? You treated and then tricked. Not Cool.
Thank you to my fellow Chicagoan Becky for reminding us weekly to engage in a little bit beneficial, strategic selfishness.
What do I mean by Beneficial Strategic Selfishness? That we should all immediately devise strategies for our own personal advancement? Well, yes, kinda. And to the detriment of others, the denial of their wishes? Well, when you put it that way….yes.**
**Disclaimer: obviously, this is to be taken with a grain of salt (not Salt, calm down). Of course, I do not mean that you should go out and start stealing, sleeping with married people, murdering, or other manner of sinnin’ and philanderin’. You a little something called discretion and judgment, people. Or at least don’t link anything you do to me. PLEASE.
Sorry, you know I like a good tangent/diatribe. Back to discussion.
April is National Volunteer Month. It is (typically) the finale of the Lenten season, culminating in Easter and all of the reminders of forgiveness and sacrifice that goes along with that. Spring (also, typically) makes you feel nice and generous because the weather is all nice and such (hah). Students take advantage of that brief lull before finals, and parent take advantage of that last push before the students are set free. In short, it is a time when the world likes to remind individuals to look outwardly and to go out and pay it forward, akin to the holiday season, but slightly different. A balance, once again, of selfishness and selflessness.
Being no longer in regularized school, unemployed, and basically doing whatever I please (again, you know I don’t mean this to an extreme) for the past 2 months, I am starting to reach that point where it isn’t so much that the honeymoon has worn off, but that I am starting to feel pressure, but also desire, to get going. Pressure because of bills (thanks, Blue Cross Blue Shield, for changing your policies. I really enjoy paying $650 a session for a medication that I cannot be without), but mostly self-imposed: I made the decision NOT to go back to waitressing. To consciously NOT do “whatever it takes” to find a job right now. To spend $$$ on NASM, on yoga training (down the road), on the ridiculous amounts of food that I eat, on physical therapy for a sport that I could just as easily (again, hah) give up tomorrow. To sign up to run another marathon. To create a schedule that currently works for the current me. And to subject you all to the interior of my brain. Daily.
Life is a study of balance: give and take. And as much as we give, in order to retain balance, we must take at times as well, and we must do so without remorse, regret, or trepidation.
Since we moved to Chicago, a move which, I must stress, I was completely supportive of and behind, I have undulated in and out of some pretty deep depressions. When things were good, they were great, and next I knew, I was in tears, striving to fit myself into a situation that I’m damn sure I knew damn well wasn’t damn right for (damn) me, damn it. I just wanted so badly to fit a niche, a home, and to apply this knowledge that I had paid for and that was seemingly dissipating before my eyes. I worked at that restaurant tirelessly–I was so thankful that it was giving me purpose, giving me socialization, filling otherwise empty hours, and leaving me with $$ that I lost sight of what it was really doing: driving me farther from my goals. But? Like I said, give and take–working at that restaurant is enabling me to take these few months off without concern that we will be able to put cat food on the floor. Being selfless enabled me to be selfish in the here and now, and being selfish NOW is perhaps the most selfless thing that I have ever done.
I am a different person that I was 2 months ago. March was one of the most satisfying and wholly-heart-filling months from beginning to end that I have experienced since my wedding. And throughout? Selfishselfishselfish. Trips, chocolate, yoga, presents, dinners out, starting NASM, going to PT, etc. I was doing me. This month? I started a little bit hungover from the overindulgence. But I needed it. And so did Alex. He needed to see me allowing myself to be happy. To take a little time to get my feet back. And to get my confidence, my SUZ back. But I also knew that I couldn’t act that way forever. Nor would I want to. But being selfish? Lead me to two amazing friends, a fantastic weekend with my mom I would not have otherwise had, and a snazzy new haircut.
Sometimes, we need to be a bit selfish in order to benefit others as part of a bigger strategic plan. Me working as a personal trainer is not going to be easy: for as selfish a choice as it was, it’s gonna be tough. But I will have a career that I love, helping people in a meaningful way, and I will be able to continue to see my husband, a huge part of the reasoning behind not going back to serving.
A much smaller example: sometimes, I need to just quit asking Alex, “What do you want to do?” and tell him instead, “You know what? I have a great recipe that you would make a perfect guinea pig for. I’ve been thinking about it all day.” And then make him eat Texturized Vegetable Protein. Because it is good for him. Or put beets on a pizza, or sweet potato and peanut butter together, or sweet potato into a quesadilla. You never know–it might become his favorite 😀
Moral of the story? Don’t feel bad for being “selfish” and sticking up for yourself. Not speaking up now might seem like a better choice, but then you are building something on a false precedent, a bad foundation. Like not doing clams and then having horrible IT band issues. Give and take, y’all. Give and take.
Now, who wants some ice cream?
How do you engage in beneficial strategic selfishness?
What is a time when you wish you had been selfish, as being selfless hurt everyone in the end?