A few days ago, I was listening to the radio. Tamia’s song “Me” began to play and I realized that I am truly happy with where I am in life. I am happy because I choose me. Choosing me means loving myself for who I am and choosing to do things that make me happy. No one controls your happiness but you.
There are generally two thoughts on how to be happy. One is giving to others and the other is taking care of yourself. I prefer a mixture of the two. As an educator, mom and wife, I do a lot of giving back. So, in my personal life I choose to do ME.
As a teenager, I was a very angry kid. I hated my circumstances. I grew up in a single family home where my mom worked multiple jobs. She was rarely home. My siblings and I had to do everything for ourselves. It was challenging and forced me to grow up too soon. I also grew up without enjoying many things that my peers did; family vacations, bike rides, summer camps, etc. As I began to mature and find success, I had to figure out why I still was not happy. I had a husband, kids, cars, and a great job, but I was miserable.
I decided to find myself. I was in my thirties and realized that I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t have any hobbies. I only had a few friends, which I rarely called or texted. Going to work was like going through the motions. I was not happy. I went on a spiritual and personal journey to get to the bottom of my feelings.
The first thing I realized was that my childhood church ruined my perception of life. I grew up in a holiness church. The rules were insane. Bible thumpers, don’t come in my comments with foolishness either. We couldn’t wear pants, dye our hair, get our nails painted, etc. It was insane. It ruined how I viewed people. I had to change my perception on what God really cares about. So, I actually read the bible and studied for myself. I got rid of those negative outlook and realized that God is love. That’s what he cares about. Not whether my nails have polish or not.
The next thing I had to work on was what hobbies I enjoyed. I care about my health, so I naturally leaned towards the gym. Instead of going randomly, I created an actual care plan. I began to go every other day at 5:30 am. I knew my personality. I could not go to the gym after work. I had to cook, help with homework and was usually slam tired. So, I forced myself to become a morning gym person. Those workouts have helped my self-perception and my self-esteem.
I remember as a kid once, my dad took us to the beach. Also, in college, I did a study abroad program in England. I wanted to regain the feelings I had back then. So, I began to join travel groups online. A big thread that popped up at the time was the Aruba Soul Beach Festival. I saw pictures and the music line up and was enamored. I wanted to go. So, I asked my friends and I asked my husband. Nope, no one committed. So, I went back to the thread and noticed that someone wanted a travel buddy. I messaged her. She, another girl, and I decided to make that journey. It was the best decision I ever made. I traveled without my family for the first time. It was a different experience. Since then, I have committed to at least one trip a year with a group of friends. It has allowed me to visit multiple countries and gain experiences I would have missed otherwise.
Lastly, I wanted to work on my professional life. I was a teacher, at the time and was in grad school for education administration. So, I worked on my resume and professional responsibilities. I was a great teacher and wanted to help others. So, I began presenting strategies at learning conferences. This also enabled me to travel for free and added to my resume! After two years, I gained an assistant principal position. But, of course that wasn’t enough for me. I began blogging and working on books. Now that I have published a book, I am working on more. I love being able to share my thoughts with the world.
I hope that by learning who I am, you learn who you are.
What makes you happy?