Following My Heart, or the Benefits of Being Selfish

Written by Katie

I’m breaking the news to my family and friends of my move gradually.

Did I tell you guys yet? No? Oh, well, I’m moving.

If you did know this already, and you’re thinking “Yeah, Katie, we know you’re moving in February 2011”– you’re only half right. I’m moving, but much sooner than expected. Much sooner as in, within 2 months.

You could say, I’m following my heart.

Some of my friends are relatively happy about it. The majority are experiencing nothing short of surprise in epic proportions. To most of my friends I’ve become known as the girl who has big ideas, makes big plans,  but does nothing with them.

I’m really good at starting things. From spring cleaning, to a new life direction, to journals, I’ve developed a certain level of appreciation for starting things fresh and new. It’s my own personal way of alleviating past mistakes and starting with a clean slate.

However great I am at beginning, I lack the follow-through necessary to create lasting experiences. No matter how good it feels to start things, they only remain “brand new” for so long until it feels old, used, and no longer worth dedicating time to. Even during the duration of the Joy Equation, I had a very difficult time committing time to myself everyday to do self-discovery. As I mentioned before, I expected myself to fail, and it was starting to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Because of this unfortunate habit of mine, no one really believes that I’m moving.

Even more, they believe that they can simply offer me an alternative solution that will keep me in my home state forever. How convenient for them, but really it’s an open invitation for me to not follow through on yet another set of plans.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that their ideas weren’t tempting:

“Move in with me!”

“Move in with your aunt!”

“Just grin and bear it!”

Yes, they all sound like perfectly great ways to stand still for the rest of my life. I’ve realized that I don’t want to stand still anymore. I want to move – not only in physical location, but emotionally, mentally, and in any other way one can move; that is, in every way but backwards.

I’m leaving a lot behind in New Jersey. my family, my friends, my car, my apartment, my life. In following my heart, I’m leaving it all behind to start fresh. One of my friends got very emotional when I told him that I was moving. “Why are you being so selfish?” he said. I was speechless and really gave his accusation some thought.

Was I being selfish?  Should I be thinking more about my family and friends and their needs?

Like any awesome Generation-Y person, I instantly Googled “Selfish” prepared for some slap in the face definition that would make me realize that I was wrong, and that my true destination shouldn’t be miles away. I found this:

selfishˈsel-fish Holding one’s self-interest as the standard for decision making.

That just solidified my decision. Shouldn’t we all be a little selfish? Try it, you just might like it.

As many of us tend to do, I’ve lived a majority of my life attempting to please others. I’m a people pleaser, which tends to be my biggest appeal and my biggest downfall. After twenty-five years of putting other’s needs and wants before mine, I want to give myself a chance. My heart has been on the backburner for such a long time, it’s just begging to be able to do what it wants to do for once.

For the first time, I’m going to listen.

One of my most difficult parts of the Joy Equation for me was the realization that I was not able to remember the last time I felt happy. I wasn’t able to answer the simple question of “Describe in detail how you feel when you are happy.”

(Hey, Molly, ask me again what makes me happy. Ask me one more time how I feel when I’m happy.)

Whenever I imagine my life according to my terms, I feel this sense of exhilaration. I feel like my world is much bigger, and my possibilities are endless. My heart races, a smile comes on my face, and I’m excited to transfer money into my savings account for the move which I have appropriately named “Road to Happiness Account”.

In these moments I am happy. In these moments I feel whole. It feels amazing not only to have life coming straight at me, but to be walking towards it with open arms.

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