On the eve of my birthday, with the candles lightly flickering in the background I find myself reflecting on the past year. This year has been a precarious one at best. I came to the realization while walking on the beach one day, that I need to start investing in myself. I know people will wonder well haven't you a bank account? A savings? Yes, I have both of those, but when I use the word “invest” I mean emotionally, spiritually, mentally  in myself. I am naturally a giving person and so I tend to go overboard with holidays and birthdays. I give much of myself to others too, and sometimes I wonder if I give too much? 

     It was a tough pill to swallow at the end of my almost two year relationship to discover I had done all the work for the other person. I made it easy, and thus made it possible for the other person to just lay back and give the bare minimum.  When I realized I would never get more out of it I made one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, I let it go. But letting “it go” wasn't like in the movies where you sing and build an ice castle. I went through a collage of emotions mixing between feeling proud of myself to feeling guilty. Why did I feel so guilty? As mom remarked one day “ you did what was best for you.”  I wondered to myself afterwards “well why do I feel so terrible?“

    I was on the road of feeling guilty when I discovered I always feel bad for doing something for myself. I always feel selfish for having to say no to people, or having to cancel plans. I need to stop doing this to myself I declared quite loudly during one of my monthly visits at the bookstore.   I had picked up a book with a proud looking woman on it, her no nonsense face seemed to whisper “ hey girl you got this.” Exactly I thought. Whatever it is I want to do, I should do it and not feel regrets about it. I have to admit this has been a hard thing to master. 

    As I think back throughout my life I have always done in one way or another what others had wanted me to do. I remember always knowing my own mind as a young annoying free spirit tomboy. I didn't take “no” for an answer, in fact I argued back which at the time got me many a time out. When did that willfulness to fight for myself disappear? I wasn't sure but as I stared at the vast menu of the coffee shop I thought if only life was like this menu. I always know what I want when it comes to coffee. Maybe it can be? Maybe it can be as simple as french vanilla or mocha? I just need to figure out exactly the things I want. 

     I went home and I wrote a list of things that mattered to me. The list wasn’t in any particular order but when I glanced at the list I noticed some common denominators. (My math teacher would be so proud.) I enjoy creative outlets like being outdoors, exploring, and taking small road trips. I like being a part of a team, I enjoy projects. I need to start looking into ways of expanding my writing. That is when the cosmic boom came, none of the jobs I have worked at have allowed me to use my talents. I have always considered writing as a hobby but I would much rather use it as part of my everyday life. I have never had what I consider to be a career. I have had plenty of jobs but never something that provokes me or is one of my passions. I feel like this is something that needs to change. I know January is typically when people make life changes but I don't want to wait that long, I have waited long enough. The gift I am giving myself this year for my birthday is the best gift I could give, the gift of self worth, the gift of an investment in myself.