There are so many things shaping our lives every day, from where we work to what classes we’re taking, and even who we’re not-so dating and swiping right on Tinder. The media puts so much pressure on finding happiness that every decision we make, big or small, seems tailored to the looming goal of finding the happiness we feel that we are all meant to have. But one thing that has stuck with me as of late is a quote from one of my favorite shows. Olivia Pope from “Scandal” said, “I’m not choosing. I choose me. I choose Olivia and right now Olivia is dancing. So either you can dance with me or get off of my dance floor.”
My goal in writing this is to help you learn why choosing you, why having your own dance floor, is something you need to experience at least once in your life.
1. People do actually come and go. Not everyone is a forever friend and choosing you might mean letting go of those who aren’t making the kind of impact that you need at that point in your life and that’s OK. Sometimes, this is the first step in your road to happiness.
2. You’re going to make mistakes. Make them on your own terms. Life is full of lessons. Some are easy and some are hard. Who wants to waste their low points on jobs or love interests that you were never really 100 percent about? You want to be able to own your sh*t and say, “I messed up.”
3. Friends are everywhere. Don’t let the fear of being without friends keep you from doing something that you want to do. Whether it’s work, school, the gym, your favorite Happy Hour spot or where you live, there are tons of opportunities to meet new people. If that doesn’t work, we all know that there is always Tinder (I’m kidding).
4. Nothing truly disappears. The decisions you make are like the pictures you post on the Internet: they’re out there for everyone, so it’s important to make sure that you are at the forefront of your presence in the world.
5. It makes letting go easier. Just like life being full of lessons, it’s also full of decisions. You’re going to have to close chapters to open new ones, and by prioritizing yourself you don’t let things like family and friends complicate the already fully complicated. You can part ways from whatever it is you are leaving in peace when you know that you made the decision for yourself and no one else. It’ll completely eliminate the “what if?”
6. You’re already labeled that way. When you’re in your 20’s, you’re seen by the rest of the world as reckless, impulsive and, most of all, selfish, so you might as well live up to your image.
7. There are 7 billion people in this world. The age-old decision of love over *a career, a school, a destination, your family, your values, etc.* is probably the most common instance in which at this point in your life you need to choose yourself. Because even if you believe that there is only one person in this world that you are meant to spend the rest of your life with, the realistic odds are against you of actually finding them so you might as well just stick to what you know: your.
8. The next acceptable time to be this reckless is on your death bed. No one respects an erratic 40 year old, that’s called a mid-life crisis.
9. You’ve earned it. It doesn’t matter if you’re 12 or 22, the average person deals with sh*t even on a daily level, so somewhere in your life you’ve earned this. I promise.
10. There’s always going to be ways to earn more money. Even if all this article is doing is pushing you to take that trip you’ve been thinking about, or do something awesome like refinance to finish school, just know that there are endless opportunities in this world to make money and that should never hold you back.
11. Unlike money, there isn’t endless amounts of time. Whether you believe in predestination, reincarnation or follow a particular religion, the one thing we cannot get more of in this world is time. Honor what you have been given with what you can live with.
12. It’s all downhill from here. You’re creeping up on the point in your life where you can’t function on anything less than eight hours of sleep.
13. You’re never truly without. Choosing you won’t always feel right and I can’t honestly sit here and say that it is 100 percent foolproof, but you’ll always have that person or those people in your life who are your real family. For me, it’s my dad. For you, it could be your best friend or even your first cousin.
14. Choosing you shows strength. Although I am one of those, “Who gives a d*mn what everyone else thinks,” kind of people, choosing you requires a hell of a lot of strength and we could all benefit from an advertised backbone in this world.
15. You can inspire others. My goal in writing this article is to make a difference. Choosing you provides that same opportunity to your friend, your roommate, your sister or whoever you decide to pass the torch to.
16. You challenge yourself. You are challenging yourself to take the road less traveled.
17. You challenge others. By making decisions they may not have expected, whether that is a significant other, a friend or even family. You challenge them to see the world differently— but don’t expect a thank you.
18. It pushes you to get in touch with who you really are. Choosing yourself means knowing yourself, something that the hustle and bustle of today’s world can often put us out of touch with. Choosing you allows you to reconnect with the one you may have been without for quite some time, which could have prevented you from finding your ultimate happiness.
19. You’ll find things you never knew that you were looking for. It could be a love of writing or that perfect stress reliever, choosing you forces you to retrace your steps, so you’re bound to find something along the way.
20. If all else fails, you’ll learn something. Whether it’s about yourself or the people around you, a split second in life where you choose to be selfish can open a whole book of explanations as to what is going on around you. You threw a curve ball in a life full of fast balls.
21. Routine Maintenance. A Detour. Choosing yourself is like its own kind of detour and can really give you the time you need to do some routine maitenance in your life and if you don’t believe in routine maitenance, we need to make a whole new list for your problem.
22. College isn’t always the answer. My high school put a lot of pressure on juniors and seniors to believe that college was their primary post-grad option, but I am here to tell you that that’s not always the case. There is nothing wrong with taking a gap year or three, traveling, getting some work experience, enlisting or even just celebrating the fact that for the first time in your life you are free. I’m definitely at a point in my college career where I’m worn down and losing interest and could have benefited from a little more insight on what all of my options were instead of just following the crowd and doing what seemed right. Now, I’m not ragging on KU. I love it here and I am happy that I made the decision to become a Jayhawk, but as I try to be more honest with myself, I see that there is still so much that I want to accomplish.
Right now, in college/coming to college or just starting your adult life, we should be choosing ourselves because that is what is going to help us find whatever happiness we deserve and in the end the only person who is truly affected by your decisions is you, so be proud of each and every one of them.