You are twenty-two, my heart tells me, you have dreams to chase, regrets to make, challenges to face, people to fall in love with, and memories to create.
I am twenty-two. And if there’s something the last five months have taught me—as I transition from a college graduate to a full-time employee, as I move out of my parents’ house, as I pay for bills and file my taxes and cook my own meals and navigate a completely unknown future—it’s that it is perfectly okay to be selfish.
To know what I want and what I deserve. To make dreams, tiny and manageable or giant and unrealistic. To lay out plans and wishes and hopes. To get up early, to stay out late, to binge-watch Netflix, to spend all afternoon at the gym, to get drunk on a Monday, to fall asleep before 9PM. To eliminate negative people and surround myself with happiness. To forgive.
Right now is the time in my life to make decisions. For myself. To stop worrying about what my mother, aunt, significant other, best friend in the entire world, or ex thinks about what I’m doing.
The time to let go of my self-hate, my anger, my resentment for others and focus on myself. What makes me happy? What is important to me? What do I want? What do I need?
“Selfish” has always been a dirty word. You are selfish. That means you put yourself first. That means you don’t care about anyone but yourself. But is that such a bad thing?
To be selfish means to know who you are as a person and what you need. It means taking the time to do things that you want to do. It means not changing your plans, your thoughts, your words, your actions, yourself for the sake of someone else. Sure, it means you potentially have the power to hurt others, but this is an unintentional part of the process of becoming you, becoming whole.
It is awesome to be selfish. To stop over-thinking, over-analyzing, questioning every decision you make. When you are selfish, you give yourself the opportunity to grow. You do things solely because you feel compelled to. You chase your emotions, you follow what your heart and head are telling you. And most importantly, you do things because you want to, not because you are told.
It is healthy to be selfish. To decide, for yourself, that you want to spend the day exploring nature, napping all afternoon, or partying until 3AM. You allow your mind and your body to connect and do something that you want to do, free of distractions, fears, inhibitions, and regrets.
So as I sit in a quiet library, watching snowflakes press their miniature selves against the windows and wishing for something more, I remind myself that it’s okay to be selfish, to take the world, swallow it whole, and claim it as my own.