Well everyone, here we are. About one month fresh out of my “one year single”. It has also been basically one month since my last post, which was the 365 Days Single post. This I think is a good precedent to the fact that I have made a mistake (as we all do), and I’ll get into that soon. I was so overwhelmed by the response to this last post, that I thought to myself: I should go back, and read it to see what I think.
This is when I realized: hey, I haven’t written anything in a month.
I then checked the journal I keep beside my bed: nothing.
I checked the notes on my phone: nothing.
This month has been a little weird. I have realized that I may have led you (and myself) astray. God forbid if any of you might actually try and get life advice from the unqualified cold mess that I am, I wanted to clarify what I have learned so that you can learn from my mistakes. Otherwise we’d all be doomed to repeat them. I was thinking about where I was a month ago. I felt that I was in a really great place. I felt like I had accomplished a goal, that I had spent the year single and tried my best to spend it working on myself. The month of May had been spent doing things I loved, that I had forgotten I loved. So naturally, I looked at it as one big check mark on my list. After one whole year of working on myself, I must be ready. It’s been a whole year, so I should have it all figured out by now.
Wrong, oh so wrong.
I’m going to do something a little weird, but important. I’m going to quote myself.
(I’m not a self centered weirdo, swear)
“Don’t lose track of the things you love most. Live life in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire and bring along the people that will rekindle it.”
Just one month after I thought I was ready to stop focusing on me, I lost track of the things I loved most. I hadn’t written, I barely read, I spent less time with friends, I stopped keeping good contact with everyone. I stopped trying. My soul had been smoked out. There was no fire, and no one around to rekindle it.
I found myself subconsciously trying yet again to morph myself into a person I thought I should be. I found myself thinking more than being. Something I promised myself, I’d never do again.
I wrote this line just a few short months ago on April 15.
On that same day, in that same post I wrote this:
“You’ll have to find yourself again, you’ll have to remember how to be your own “us”. You’ll find the beauty in yourselves, you’ll find the wonder in yourselves. You’ll see all there is to see in the world. Someday you might find someone who can do that for you again, until then:
You can be all that for yourselves.”
I had to rekindle my own fire, I knew this. I just needed a bit of a kick to start.
I had the right idea, but didn’t quite hit the mark. You see there is a small problem with this. This goes along with my love of timelines. I have a lovely wonderful fantastic human being in my life, who knows me better than I know myself. He is also insightful as hell and can make you see that you are troubled when you didn’t even know you were. He is one of my closest friends, he is my confidante, and my advice-giver (and we always get ice cream so that’s cool too). I even got to see him last night. On one of our weekly ice cream dates not long ago, he helped me understand my own feelings. While talking about a situation that I was uncomfortable with, he looked at me and said, “We are very similar.”.
This is undeniably true, but I wondered why he had said that in the particular moment. What followed will be advice that I will carry with me forever, and was jut the reminder I needed.
He said to me, “We love timelines. We love to set a schedule of when things will be done by, and we feel like when that time comes we’ll have accomplished whatever it was we needed.” (or something of that sort, my cotton candy blizzard distracted me a smidge).
He and I also spoke a long time ago, roughly a year ago, and said that we would spend one whole year single, to focus on ourselves. I set the goal at the time thinking that it was reasonable, that one whole massive year was more than enough time to find myself, figure it all out, and have my life together. When the 365 days were up, I felt at first that this was accurate. I’ve done a lot of things, I’ve learned a lot, I’m not all the way there, but after one year I should be ready.
I was wrong.
This is where I would like to clarify to all of you: I have made a mistake. These timelines that we put on ourselves are great for completing mundane tasks, such as grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, writing an essay. When it comes to our emotions, our perceptions, especially towards ourselves, we cannot put a timeline on when we’ll be done. There is no way that we can say: in one year I’ll be happy with myself in every way, I’ll be ready to stop figuring out who I am. I will know who I am.
Some people can go their whole lives, still trying to figure it all out.
I’ve made a lot of progress in this last year, but I still have a lot of growth left.
Somehow when that year ended, I subconsciously stopped trying. I became dependent on others, I fell into old habits and routines. I stopped exploring, I stopped searching within myself, and starting searching for me in other people. I tried to do things that I thought I “should” do. I tried to do things that a “normal” person would do. I did things that I never thought I would, and things that were completely out of character for me.
I did things that made me disappointed in myself.
If there is one thing this year, and a few long conversations with a good friend has taught me, is that I have to follow what I feel is right. I have to put me first. It’s important to care about others, and to be careful of other people’s wants, and feelings.
But pardon me if I sound selfish or rude when I say, you (and I) need to put ourselves above everything else. You cannot sacrifice your values, beliefs, personality, for anyone else. You simply need to follow what you feel.
You need to be yourself.
You might not know who that is, or what that means (I definitely don’t), but that’s the beauty of not having a timeline. You can continue to grow and learn as you go.
Recent events have made me very aware that I still have a lot of work to do on myself before I can go back to relying on other people. I have to be comfortable with myself before I can be comfortable with someone else.
I have to learn to take my own advice.
Looking back at the quote from earlier, I have decided it needs one small change:
“You’ll have to find yourself again, you’ll have to remember how to be your own “us”. You’ll find the beauty in yourselves, you’ll find the wonder in yourselves. You’ll see all there is to see in the world. Someday you might find someone who can do that for you again, but even then:
You can be all that for yourselves.”
You can be all that for yourselves, but not only temporarily, this is where I was wrong. You shouldn’t just be holding yourself over until the next person comes along who can pick up where you left off. Don’t be a placeholder in your own life. Be the leader of your life. Make your decisions based on you. Do what feels right to you, what makes you happy. Don’t ever let anyone else dictate who you are, what you’re doing or how you feel.
I am not yet comfortable with my body. I’ve made some progress in being comfortable in my own skin, but it’s truly very difficult. It isn’t something you can snap your fingers and say “In one year I’ll love everything about my body”. I had to endure an hour of trying on jeans and shorts at my new job with coworkers who were all much smaller than I. After a few shed tears, and a vow to never wear shorts again, my self-esteem had taken enough of a kick that I struggled to force myself to eat supper that night.
This is the problem, I had found myself depending on others for my validation, for my self worth. I had thought that once my year was up, I would be confident enough to depend on someone else, to be ready to commit to something else. I thought I would be ready to throw in the towel and say, “I gave it my best shot, this is as good as it’ll get.”
I wasn’t, I’m not, and after one weird month, I know that.
So here, today, I ask you, if you would all like, to join me in kicking timelines to the curb. Yes, I am still working on all of the parts of myself that I have not reached yet, but I am not putting an end date on that. I will no longer set dates, or times to feel happy. I will not tell myself, or anyone else that an amount of time can fix their problems.
I will take two years, three years, ten years if I have to, of working on myself, of putting myself first. If that’s what it takes, because nothing in this world is more important than your happiness. Yes, other people will give that to you, but to be truly happy, you need to learn to find it within yourself. You are a strong, incredible, resilient human being, and you are going to change this world. But live as though there are no timelines, live as though you have a world of time, because it is only then, that you truly find yourself.
Don’t just rekindle your fire temporarily, feed it slowly, until it burns into a miraculous blaze. Let it light your path, and your life, like the love you find within yourself will light your heart.
Don’t rush a good thing,