I made a million choices in 2015, but the most important? Putting myself first.

I made a million choices in 2015, but the most important? Putting myself first.

Over the course of the last year, much hasn’t changed.  I’m STILL in grad school. I work for the same company (not complaining!).  I still have two cats that make it hard to have nice furniture.  I still live in the same shitty Chicago apartment under the same crappy neighbors.

At the same time a lot has changed. This is mostly because of some key decisions I made over the last year.  I decided that while I had loyalty to my boss and team, I needed a change at work.  I changed jobs and the world didn’t end.  In fact, I have learned more in one month than the last two years and I’m feeling challenged again.

I decided my Christmas was going to be overhauled.  No more physical gifts.  Instead, I would accept and give the gift of time. I know, how flippin’ corny is that? But it worked.  It took about half my Christmas stress away, if not more.  If you don’t know, I don’t care much for the holiday. Just call me bah hum bug.

I decided I wanted to learn guitar. Again.  I should rename this blog temporary hobby chick! My fingers are finally getting calluses, I can play Mad World by Gary Jules and I’m sure I’m annoying my neighbors. All wins in my book.

I decided it was okay that I didn’t believe in God and no one, not even my parents who raised me to be Christian, could make me feel bad about it. I’m a good person. One of the most moral and empathetic people I’ve ever met in fact.  Knowing that is all I need. I’m okay with who I am, if other people aren’t, to hell with them.

The second best decision, you might ask? That would be giving up my search for a guy.  If it happens it does but my happiness does not start and end with finding so called Mr. Right.  If a nice guy asks me on a date? I’m up for it.  If not? I’m okay with it.

But the very best decision I made over the course of 2015, in fact the course of my life, is to put myself first.  I know, corny again, right!? But it’s true.  I love taking care of everyone.  I want to make life easy on everyone around me, but often it comes at a cost to myself.  I run myself ragged.

I typically do everything I can for anyone who asks.  A ride a 1AM to get your car from an impound lot over an hour away? Let’s go! Who needs sleep anyway?

A ride for an ex from a seedy strip club because his ride left? Don’t fear, Katie will be there!

Flat tire 40 minutes away in the pelleting snow? Don’t worry- I’m there too!

My little sister could probably attest to this fact.  I have spoiled her rotten since the day she was born.  In high school, if she was having a bad day or couldn’t sleep, I would actually get up out of bed and drive her to the city and back down.  That’s two or more hours of driving because she couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t her fault. It was mine.

This year?  I started saying no to her.  She needs a ride at 9 am?  Take an Uber, Chicka. What I learned in the process was that, she didn’t need me as much as I always thought. In fact no one needed me as much as I always thought.  What else did it teach me? I don’t need to be needed.  I’m content being enough for myself.

It wasn’t just her.  I wasn’t there for family and friend every beck and call. I only helped when I had the time and energy or if I was truly needed.  Changing flat tires?  I’m not up for it anymore.  Call triple AAA or better yet- figure out how to do it yourself.  I did it at 16! I learned I have to set boundaries for others, and myself, so I don’t wear myself thin. Granted, I could stand to lose a few pounds!

This year wasn’t anything great.  I didn’t have a kid. I didn’t get married. I didn’t go on any big trips. I barely saw my best friends. It was very sad at times with one grandparent passing and two others falling ill.

The best thing to come out of this year was just learning to be okay with who I am. But also knowing that the people who love me and want to be in my life will stick around no matter who I am, or how much of myself I give away.

Here’s to 2016.  May we all learn even more about ourselves.  May we learn to love ourselves. May we learn to live in the moment.

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