Updated: Apr 25, 2020
New year, new you?
Fresh start on any given day on the year?
It matters not to me if you are a person of "New Year resolutions" or if you choose a particular time period to make some life-altering changes. I tend to do my reflection at the end of my birth year. Some prefer reflections at the end of the calendar year. WHENEVER you decide to make a change in your life is the perfect time.
Here's a change I've made in the past, faltered on and actively decided to start working on again. Let me take you back to year 2015:
Do we feel an obligation to the friends we’ve had for what seems like an entire lifetime? Or is it that we are completely terrified of the idea of starting over?
Meeting new people, repetitive introductions and the tedious getting-to-know-you process. It all just sounds like W O R K; The kind of work where you can put out 70-100% of energy to receive 30% back. Personally, I do not believe friendships should leave you drained and depleted, so why not move on or try something new? I knew I had to.
One of my high-school friends planned a birthday celebration at a restaurant. As usual, I was earlier than everyone, including the birthday girl. Yet, I was intentionally fifteen minutes late, because lateness seemed to be the norm for most Jamaicans. I sat there and waited, waited, waited. If you fully understand the concept of introversion, you could guess how uncomfortable, self-conscious and anxious I must have been waiting there alone. I decided to pass the time on my cell phone - calling up a couple friends for a quick chat and to express my disappointment; catching up on social media on any and every platform I had an account with: Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Pinterest. I even ended up desperately scrolling through photos I already knew existed on my phone.
Would you believe that after all that, only forty-five minutes had gone by and yet, not a familiar face in sight. I started to think at that point that persons who said they were on their way were either not actually on their way, or obviously too far away for it to make a difference. Paranoia set in followed by continued irrational thoughts. As for the birthday girl, she was just heading home (in another city which was at least fifteen minutes away-given there’s no traffic) to get ready. I spent the next fifteen minutes evaluating my current situation and after another hour had passed of waiting and deliberating, I called a cab to head home. A couple of friends arrived soon after and could not understand why I would leave now that they were there, now that I had company, but they didn’t get it. As infuriated as I was at this point, all I knew was I was going to ensure that they got it.
I went home, despite the pleads for me to stay. Went home, hurt, disappointed, annoyed and eventually inflamed. However, being given all that time to think taught me a few things:
You have to be selfish sometimes. Look out for yourself and what’s in your best interest, especially if you find or feel that your support group doesn't feel all that supportive.
People won’t always see things the way you do. Don’t let that change you.
Value your time, because time lost is impossible to regain.
Value yourself enough to know what you are worth and remove yourself from toxic people, situations and habits.
Negative situations usually have a lesson in there somewhere. Take the time out to reflect on it, you’d be surprised what you discover. I think the universe forced me into this situation so I could see people for who they are and stop making excuses for them. I found a little more love for myself at the end of it all, a little more appreciation for who I am.
I changed over into comfortable pajamas and grabbed an ice cold glass of coffee-flavoured rum cream (Mmmmm, my favorite). A smile laced my lips, because for once I did what was good for me. I was happy and at peace. Even my parents assumed I enjoyed my night despite their questions of how I was back home so early.
Note to self and you:
Friends don’t make you “WORK” without rewards or meeting you halfway. Actually, no one does. It’s against the laws of human interaction. Relationships are conditional no matter what you think. We do things in the hopes that the other will give us something in return (love, attention, words of affirmation, gifts, their company, a connection or association, their opinion, a favour etc). For six years throughout high school and university, I was always early for events or always the first to arrive. Why? Because I respect people and their time. I deserve the same and so do you.
Note to self and you:
Real friends consider your weaknesses, your safety, your comfort, your happiness and REMEMBER: Apologies don’t mean a thing if negative behaviour continues. Take a try at conditioning. DO NOT reward negative behaviour. I took my own advice and the following weekend (for the first time ever), I went out without friends. I went out alone. That choice, that change, was hopefully the start of something new. No expectations, no disappointments, just going and coming as I pleased. It was terrifying really, but definitely refreshing and another lesson in itself. Try it!
Alone, but not Lonely
Until next time!
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