The world is moving fast. Friends aren’t always really friends. Family can be tiring and work, well, not always an easy ride. So when we find those people outside these burdensome realities, we hold on very tight to them and we sure put our claws in them because at a certain age, women ask themselves “important” questions in new perspectives. We start to want to settle down; get steady partners, children and houses. If not, we change the trajectory of our careers and want to reach for the stars or do something for humanity.
We no longer want our weekends to be clubbing or us alone in our apartments binge-watching series without realizing that we haven’t spoken to anyone in three days. And, the thing is, in our thirties, we might end up lonely because most people are raising their children and being girlfriends/wives. Girl time is cut significantly because our girls need to get home by a certain time, right? Those who are single ladies probably work more than forty hours a week; they don’t have time for your nagging ass on Sunday. Friendships are tiring because in other instances, you are trying to get your side hustle going and the so-called friends don’t support you where it matters. So, you cut them out. It’s life. Friends are your family and clients!
I am of the belief that people we hold very close to our hearts can often be our worst enemies, due to their expectations of us (or sometimes what we feel we need to be for them). For instance, being a friend means that you go out with your friends, but sometimes you don’t even like the things they like anymore or you are free but you just want to watch Grey’s Anatomy the whole weekend. Being a friend means pitching when your girlfriend has “man problems” and I’m sorry, we carry these energies with us, even when our friends have made up with their men. It’s tiring. Being a daughter or a sister often means sending money home or getting caught up in the web of family drama or problems, things that other people have created in their lives themselves. Being someone’s mom, girlfriend or wife has its own responsibilities and expectations – all the girls’ nights you have to give up, your privacy, independence in some instances and even your identity. You may be able to pack up and go but it needs to be a discussion first.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of this; some people love being a lifeline for others. But, it is easy to get lost in doing things for others and forget YOU. This is where selfishness comes into play, especially for women because we like being GIVERS.
From early on, I think it’s very important to build a life based on the premise of good selfishness. Confused? Don’t be. What I simply mean is that sometimes, you have to say NO to your friends and do your own thing. When I think about it now, there were many opportunities for me to be an out-going girl in University; I stayed in the city, older men and alcohol were always at easy-access, but most of the time, I used to say NO to friends and opt to stay in. And, here is a big one, sometimes, your friends aren’t good for the progress of your relationship because every time you say NO to their hangouts, they assume that your man is taking over your life. Sometimes, your friends aren’t good for the house you are trying to build for your family because they have all these weekend getaways and holidays they want to go to and in order for you to afford them, you have to postpone important family stuff. Sometimes, single friends aren’t good for your married life, because they can never fully comprehend marital problems – they think you should leave your man when something wrong happens.
In the same breath, I believe that you need to establish a set of dreams, goals and identity for yourself. If your partner’s are in sync and almost identical to these, great! If he compliments them, great too! But, if they clash completely – you should not be the one sacrificing your dreams for him/her because how will you be genuinely happy not living (or at least trying to live) your dream? It’s the 21st century; our career goals cross our national boarders – we want to stay in different countries working for months, and I don’t think we should give those up just because we are girlfriends/wives and mothers. My belief is that a partner who is living their dream (who’s not always home but is present) is better than one who is always at home not living their dream (and therefore, not really present but regretting).
I’m not asking anyone not to be selfless, but there are times when you need to stop pouring money into family problems and focus on saving to buy your dream house, car or finally go to that exotic holiday you’ve always wanted. You’ve worked hard for it. You’ve earned it, and, girl, you deserve it. You need to remember that everyone has some kind of a “selfish” reason for the role they want you to play in their lives; your husband could be the happiest man because you iron his clothes, do his laundry, run errands for him during the day, cook for him all the time – but does that make you happy or would you rather only cook and iron for him and then do other things related to the business you’ve always wanted to start? Your mom might not want you to move out before you get married, but what if you never want to get married?
It’s really time to pull out all the plugs on unrealistic commitments you’ve made to people’s lives, and focus on yourself this spring. ‘Tis the season to be selfish!