The past two years of my life have been very eye-opening for me in a lot of ways. I went from living a lifestyle where I was constantly surrounded by people and had to create “me time” every once in a while, to living a lifestyle where the majority of my time is either spent alone or surrounded by strangers. As you would imagine, that big of a change takes a lot of getting used to. You have to find some kind of happy medium to avoid completely overwhelming yourself with change.
When I decided to move to Florida, I knew exactly what was about to happen to my social life. Instead of being surrounded by family and friends all day every day, I was moving to a place where I knew nobody at all. I basically made the decision to hit the reset button on my life and start over. When I stop and think about it, that sounds terrifying. At the time, I was so busy looking to the future that I didn’t really give myself a chance to worry too much though. I just believed that everything would work out in the end, and I kept moving forward.
When you’re constantly busy, you don’t have much time to allow your mind to wander. You are focused on the present and just take care of whatever it is you have going on in your life at that time. Once things start to slow down is when things change. I’m the kind of person who has always tended to over-think. When I have a significant amount of time to myself and there’s nothing going on around me, I have a way of convincing myself to worry about things that either don’t matter or that I can’t control… or both. Neither of those things are worth worrying about. If you can’t control something, then worrying about it is a complete waste of time.
Eventually, I got to the point where I started to notice a change in my mindset. Instead of just worrying about pointless things when my mind started to wander, I noticed I was starting to compare my current lifestyle to my past lifestyle. This was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
Although I had kind of already known this for years, I started to realize exactly how much I had always relied on others for certain things. I relied on others for support, and worried about everyone else’s opinions of the things I did. Most importantly, I realized how much I had always relied on others for my happiness. The people you surround yourself with have a major impact on your lifestyle and the decisions you make, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Certain people always had a way of putting a smile on my face and motivating/inspiring me to become a better version of myself. When those people weren’t around, I lacked motivation and wasn’t as happy.
When I moved 1,500 miles away from all of my family and friends, I quickly realized that I was on my own. I could no longer rely on those people cheer me up and give me a kick in the butt when I needed it. The only person I had to rely on was myself. I knew that the only way this new journey I had begun was going to succeed was if I learned to rely on myself the way I had always relied on others. I’m still working on this, but I’m getting a little better about it all the time. I have to keep getting better. I don’t have a choice. I made this comment to people often before I moved down here, and it’s still true… I HAVE to succeed. I can’t afford to fail. The risk I took moving across the country was too big for me to fail. It’s hard to find better motivation than that!
I have learned to not really care what other people think of me or the life I have chosen to live. A different life may work better for other people, but I am living the life that works best for me. Some people don’t understand why I would want to begin a career in golf. Some people don’t understand why I love Disney so much and have made it such a big part of my life. Some people don’t understand why I choose not to worry obsessively over things that, honestly, I maybe should worry about a little more often. That’s fine. They don’t have to understand why I am who I am and why I do what I do. I am living a life that makes me happy, and that will hopefully lead me to being even happier in the future. If other people don’t like it or don’t agree with it, I honestly don’t care. They may know me, but they aren’t me. There’s a big difference between knowing someone and being someone.
I don’t know if this is just a Midwest thing, or if this is common elsewhere, too, but I recall being told repeatedly while growing up that people shouldn’t talk about themselves. They should never talk about their achievements and success. For that reason, I used to downplay the things I achieved. I didn’t want to tell people I was proud of myself, because I didn’t want people to think I was bragging, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I just quietly went through life without saying much.
In the two years I’ve spent living alone, I have realized how much I disagree with that way of thinking. Obviously, you shouldn’t go out of your way to rub success in someone’s face and try to make them feel bad, but there is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with being proud of yourself and wanting to share your happiness and excitement with others. Anything you achieve in life should be celebrated! You should be happy and proud of yourself when you accomplish something that is important to you.
Another thing I remember hearing all of the time growing up is that you should put others first in your life, not yourself… focusing on yourself and putting yourself first is selfish. That couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth!! I do enjoy helping others whenever I can, but everyone, at some point, NEEDS to focus on themselves. You NEED to put yourself first at some point in your life. You need to spend time by yourself learning who you really are as a person. You need to spend time by yourself learning what is most important to you in your life. You need to spend time by yourself figuring out what you want to do with your future and how to make it happen. Nobody can tell you what is best for you. You have to figure that out for yourself. You need to learn to love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, then who will love you? There will come a point in your life when you need to decide what is best for you. You won’t have anyone to turn to for help with that decision. Once you learn who you REALLY are, and you learn what it is that you want in life, then you will start to find happiness. When you find happiness, you will learn to love yourself for the person that you really are, without being influenced by the people around you. Once you learn to love your true self, you will finally be able to really, truly love others.
To me, the two most important things in the world are love and happiness. When you think about it, they really go hand in hand. But, it all starts with you. You have to learn to love yourself if you want to live a life of happiness and be able to love those who are most important to you as much as they deserve to be loved. I think we all could agree that this world needs more love and more happiness. There could never be enough of either in this world. It starts with you. Take care of yourself before you try to take care of others. Love yourself, it’s important!!