I have to confess something…
It’s about 3:45 in the morning on December 31, and I can’t sleep. My husband is snoring up a storm, and the smaller of my two boys is somehow taking up about ninety percent of our queen-size bed. I have already planned out and adjusted my New Year’s Eve outfit, so now I’m just sitting here. And instead of focusing on the giant pimple in the middle of my forty-four year old forehead, I decided to reach out and catch up with all of you.
I would love to apologize for my absence on here for pretty much the entire past year, but the truth is that I’m really not. Other than two blogs to announce my engagement and marriage, I decided to really step back in 2018, and focus solely on myself, without a care as to having pieces published or what anybody else thought. For lack of a better term, I was selfish.
What an interesting word: Selfish…
The definition is pretty straightforward: lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. The word itself has been given a negative connotation, and in many relationships, being selfish usually leads to a fight or ten. I mean, being selfish is a bad thing, right? Isn’t that what we were all told our entire lives? I know I have heard that a few times growing up.
Well, after taking the last year for myself, I can say with complete confidence that sometimes, being selfish is a really good thing. I will go as far as to say that had I not put myself first for a change, 2018 would have turned out quite differently.
For one thing, it allowed me the time to actually enjoy being a boyfriend, getting engaged and walking down the aisle. And believe me, there were people that attempted to make my wedding day about them. But instead of focusing on them and their drama, my husband and I had the most amazing day, surrounded by love. And in the end, it was perfect.
Now, I’m not gonna say that since then, our marriage has been perfect, because that would be the biggest pile of bull I could ever sling at you. In fact, at the moment, I would love to smother him with a pillow. So, we definitely have our moments, our issues, and certainly our fights, as does any couple. However, I think our foundation is solid, and I can say with complete confidence that in the end, we have each other’s backs and fully support one another. And truth be told, I wouldn’t have made it through this past year without my husband, and I am enjoying being married.
Getting married wasn’t the only major change that happened in 2018. Call it a mid-life crisis, call it reinvention, call it whatever you may, but at the beginning of this year, I felt my life had gotten very predictable, and a major shake-up was needed. And in order to make any kind of change, I had to think of myself. And guess what, that’s exactly what I did.
Around the same time that my husband and I moved in together, I was offered a position as an Executive Assistant in a Synagogue. I went back and forth for quite a while. I mean, other than the fact that they still called me “Jack” when my name had been changed for six years, how do you leave a place that took you in when you really needed a job, and was really good to you for over twelve years? And on top of that, leave with only two weeks notice?
I struggled with the decision, but when I thought about it, I felt that I had gotten complacent after twelve years, and really needed this big change in my life. I also felt I needed to prove to myself that I could do something else. So in the end, I took the job at the Synagogue and closed a major chapter in my life… sorta. I agreed to stay on and help with the bookkeeping and human resources, so the door wasn’t completely shut. And for me, it meant some extra pocket money.
Starting a new job, ANY new job is tough. Especially when you go from being top dog at one place to being the new guy amongst a well-oiled machine in another. I’m not gonna lie, the first few months were very hard for me, and I second guessed myself a lot. I went home defeated just about every night. There was even a point where I was done and wanted to quit, but with time, I believe I got to a point where I started to find my footing, leave my mark and fit in. Unfortunately, by the time that came around, my health began to decline.
In the interim of starting at the Synagogue, dealing with major changes, and trying to figure out what my position actually was, my stress levels went through the roof, which in turn, negatively affected my Thyroid levels. And along with that, my blood pressure, cholesterol and liver enzymes were also off, my hair began to fall out and I started putting on weight. In August, my doctors told me to either cut stress out of my life, which meant leaving my job, or doubling my medication dosages. At the time, I decided to give the Synagogue a chance and stayed, which meant doubling my medications. I also began taking an injection to help with my liver enzymes, which made me lose weight as a side effect.
Between my appointments in August, and my follow-ups in November, I had lost over 40 pounds. In addition to that, doubling my meds hadn’t made any improvements to my health. In fact, my levels had increased again, and my doctors gave me the exact same ultimatum; either cut stress or double my meds yet again. In other words, in less than six months, I would pretty much be quadrupling my medication dosages, and adding a second injection.
It was in that moment, I really had to make a hard decision. Either I stay in a job that I was beginning to be really happy in, and that was getting better, but no guarantee that things would change so much that my levels would improve, and add more medication to my daily regime. Or I could avoid it by focusing on my health, cutting stress, and leaving my job. I went back and forth and truly struggled with this decision. I knew if I left, I would be hurting some people, and I was letting the ball drop, but if I stayed, there was a chance I could end up having a heart attack.
It was that final thought that pretty much solidified my choice, and I decided to put myself first. Reluctantly, after only seven months, I left the Synagogue. And less than a week later, I was given the news that my meds, including my injection dosage, were going to be upped for a second time. No pun intended, but that truly was a hard pill to swallow. Fortunately, whatever I’m currently doing is working, and my levels are slowly improving. Hopefully, when I go for my follow-ups in March, my levels will have improved to the point that I will be able to lower my dosages again.
So here I sit this New Year’s Eve, down nearly fifty pounds, with a snoring husband and a Chiweenie that thinks he’s a Great Dane. My health is not exactly where it should be, but thankfully, it is finally moving in the right direction again. And my stress levels are beginning to lower as well. All because I decided to make changes in my life and focus on myself. And honestly, I can say that despite the bad health and all the drama that ensued, I’m ending this year at peace, and with a smile on my face.
Now, I am in no way, shape or form saying that the solution to life is to be a selfish person. As a member of the “snowflake” party, I believe in looking out for our fellow man. You know, things like equality for all, rescuing animals and giving charity. Sometimes, it’s just the right thing to do to think about and help out somebody else. And how many of us can say that there are or have been people in our lives that are as selfish as the day is long, and we chose to stay away from them? I know I certainly do. I may have even dated a few, but I digress.
What I am saying is that when it comes to the term selfish, that maybe there were different levels, and sometimes it’s not a bad thing. Maybe we have to be selfish at times for our own health and sanity. Or maybe by focusing less on what others wanted and more on what we need, we can center ourselves and get out of a rut that we’ve been in. Maybe by worrying less about outside voices and focusing on our own, we can become our true selves. And in turn, we can then be better people for the people and things we love, and for the world around us in the long run.
Who knows? Maybe I’m right. Or maybe, I’m just over exhausted right now and overthinking it all. Either way, all I know is 2018 will go down as a good year for me, personally and professionally, and I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store.
With that said, I should probably attempt to get some sleep. The hubby and I are supposed to go to the Big Apple Circus to ring in the new year, and I have these amazing silver sequin pants from Moschino x H&M which weigh a ton that I will be wearing. Plus, I still have this big ass pimple in the middle of my forehead to deal with. You didn’t actually think I forgot about that, did you?
So from the bottom of my heart, I would like to wish all of you, no matter where you will be when the clock strikes twelve, a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
May 2019 be our best year ever!!!