2018: The Year of Living Selfishly

Last week I wrote about my “Better Person Roulette”, which I am still liking so much I may create a meditation mantra roulette as well. This bite-sized technique is really working for me.

But…

I’m also working on another resolution…the overarching theme technique. Many people select a word or two and use that to guide their decisions throughout the year.

I’m using a rendition of a title from a movie “Year of Living Dangerously” and making it my own with the Year of Living….

Selfishly.

There, I said it.

Why the Year of Living Selfishly?

I’m going to work on me this year. There I’ve said it. And because I still need to tell myself it’s okay most days to do this, I will explain why I think more moms (and others, particularly solopreneurs) need to start doing this.

Before anyone starts thinking that a mom has no business living selfishly, hear me out.

2017 was a year of forced learning for me. In March, my (former) father-in-law died suddenly at 57. No warnings. Just enjoying the spring weather looking out over his backyard one moment, gone the next.

My best friend of over twenty years took her life that same night.

These were very different losses and I’m still working through them. The first was shocking. The second was shocking in a much different sense. I cursed the universe over the first. I wondered what I didn’t see with the second. She and I had plans. She was coming to visit in two weeks and I had just texted her that day. We talked on the phone for two hours two days before that.

But that’s a post for another day.

The point is…

I began rethinking my life and what I wanted to do. Not from a professional standpoint. I’m fortunate to be doing just what I dreamed–writing for a living.

But what wasn’t I doing? What could I devote more time to so that I accomplished my goals before the zombie apocalypse?

Okay, I’m kidding here but not really. The point is all sorts of things happen that we don’t expect. It doesn’t have to be zombies.

 

It’s Not Always Zombies That Steal Our Future. Sometimes We Offer It for Free.

So my year of living selfishly looks something like this (so far):

  • Joined a local organic food delivery service (a splurge but one that’s good for my health and my sons’).
  • I’m planning a personal writing retreat and a trip to an event I’ve put off for too long. This will be a five-day vacation where I will write fiction and see some of the most beautiful flower fields in the world. This feels insanely hedonistic and every time I start thinking about it I’m racked with guilt. The idea of traveling to the other side of the country to see a tulip festival I’ve wanted to attend for 15 years but not taking my kids feels decadent and wildly selfish. Not that my boys want to see flowers anyway. Nor would those said flowers still be standing afterward.
  • I signed up for Dollar Shave Club (tiny splurge) but I’m just darn tired of using plastic raizers from Aldi’s. I have to go over the same area like five times. Imagine the time I’ll save!

But seriously….there’s more.

  • I set non-lucrative writing goals. Before 2017, all the writing I felt good about, the stuff I did for me, weren’t paying gigs so I placed them on the backburner. In 2017, a fellow writer I met at a writing conference years ago asked me to co-write a screenplay about his family. It has been one of the best, soul-feeding projects I have worked on in a long time. And I realized, I need to do more of these sorts of things even if they don’t all pay the bills.
  • I decorated my office with things that make me happy and yes, they were mostly things that I bought. And I never do that. I don’t spend money on things that make me happy. I spend it on necessities for the family and my growing boys.
  • I’m setting aside one day every month to improve myself or my business by learning something new.

And I’m still thinking of other ways to live selfishly because I have enjoyed every minute of it. Whenever I start feeling guilty about these things I’m giving myself, I think about the example I’m setting for my boys.

I don’t want them to see me as a martyr, making everyone else happy. I want them to see someone who finds joy in the life she’s chosen for herself. Although I have splurged on a few things this year, I want them to see someone who is setting her own boundaries and living a life of fulfilled happiness finding joy in the little things.

So yes, I am living selfishly this year and I urge you to join me.

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