As 2010 began I made a pact, witnessed by Adriana, that I was going to dedicate the year to me, myself, and I. In a crowded bar, in the hopping neighborhood of Lincoln Park (Chicago, IL), I set out to make 2010: My Year. Declaring it as “My Year” simply meant that, for once in my life, I was going to put myself first. Do the things that make me happy instead of always trying to make, well, everyone else happy. Okay, so if you know me personally and/or read this blog regularly then you know that most of my time (work, volunteering, social life, traveling to visit friends) is dedicated to helping others while serving my own happiness needs. My desire to help others is innate and therefore, it’s best to just accept it as a fact of (my) life, as I have.
On my way to volunteer today, I ran into Starbucks for an impulsive, yet necessary, Soy AmeriMisto. In there I came across a father, equipped with two sleds (maybe one was a boogeyboard) and an inner tube, along with his three bundled-up young children. I couldn’t resist from asking them how their trip was going, especially since looking at them I immediately found myself recalling winter sledding trips to Hartwood Acres with Nicky and my dad. The oldest of the three was probably only ten, so just imagine how much fun I had talking to them about their sled riding, acknowledging the little boy’s Ohio State hat, and talking to them about their upcoming visit from Santa. Innocence. Beautiful innocence. These kids make you want to believe in Santa all over again, just seeing the little sparkle in their eyes and the excitement in their little voices when I asked them how many days until Christmas. “SIX DAYS!” they all screamed together.
As I’ve said before and I’ll keep saying, this past year has been a whirlwind for me. While we can joke about all the travel and having too many friends back in Ohio, I sit here knowing that I followed through on my pact. I lived my life to the fullest this year. I lived my life for me. Sure, many people were affected by the choices I made, but each decision I made was my decision. I chose where and when to go and who to see.
This is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to say that. Blame it on my Point Guard background and being my gracious mother’s child, but I’ve always lived my life for the benefit of others….continuously putting any of my needs aside, even thinking, What needs? for most of my life. Looking back on my adolescence I now know that my kindness and generosity were taken advantage of time-and-time again. But while it proved to be discouraging at times and led me to lose trust in several people, I never stopped giving myself and my time to serve others: my friends, my family, my classmates, my teammates, etc. As I commonly put it, this is “me“. And while it can prove to be frustrating at times, I know that this is who I want to be. But in stating that, I have to share that this ‘me’ isn’t the teenager that she once was, and instead she’s the girl who gained a lot of clarity these last twelve months.
In two weeks I’ll be getting ready to head back to Chicago (from Pittsburgh) and embarking on another year. Another year of personal growth. Another year of taking chances. Another year of finding out who I am and who I desire to be. I know that all of this is necessary in order for me to do what I want to do because in order to help others, one must help herself/himself first. Figure out who you are; what you want; and what makes you happy. By taking care of Y.O.U., you will be capable of giving so much more to others. That’s an important lesson that I learned this past year: I can give more to others by taking care of myself. And more importantly, staying true to myself- being me, myself, and I– will cause a domino effect of impact. This is something I’ve discovered firsthand this past week through interacting with Rebecca & Ryan and receiving feedback from multiple people via the World of Social Networking that we’re living in (ie. Facebook, Email, and This Blog). By me being me and you being you, then we motivate others to do the same for themselves. By being ourselves, we can inspire others to follow their dreams and live for their passion.
I can Make A Difference by being me. You can Make A Difference by being you.