By Alex Jagmin
Finding the balance between giving too many fucks and not giving a fuck isn’t the easiest task. I have spent many of my 25 years on this earth worrying about pretty much everything and everybody. I was once a worry wart to the max. Other people's problems happened to be my favorite thing to stress over, which is unusual because to put it frankly, other peoples' problems were not my problems; a fact I couldn’t quite seem to grasp. Being so concerned about everything that my friends and family were dealing with allowed me to avoid figuring out my own shit, which is never a cute look.
The core of my beliefs is that we should be as kind and giving to others as possible. I believe in random acts of kindness and being a genuinely good human being. However, I was living out my life going above and beyond for people who were not always giving me back the same kindnesses I was bestowing upon them. To put it nicely, I was a major doormat. Being kind to others is important to me and makes me happy, but I needed to learn how to set boundries and I needed to learn how to say no. But how the hell do you even begin set boundries? How do you say no when you're used to saying yes all of the time?
Exactly two years ago, I had just gotten dumped by a guy I’d given everything to, had a best friend that no longer treated me with respect, hated my job and pretty much everything else about my life when I decided to take a stand. Enough was enough. Operation Make Alex Happy needed to be in full effect. I wasn’t sure where to begin, but I knew it had to be drastic. I decided to make a pact to myself to take more risks, be a little more selfish and do really nice things for myself for an entire year. I was going to do all of the shit I wanted to do with no apologies, and even some shit I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do.
First things first I needed to break up with my bestie and other people who didn’t make a positive impact on my life. Sometimes you grow apart from things or people that had once made you happy or brought you a sense of wholeness. For ten years my best friend and I were totally inseparable, but as the years went by we became different people. What was once a healthy friendship became a toxic one. Instead of having fun together, we bumped heads. Breaking up with a best friend is totally different from a breakup with a boyfriend. The bond that binds two women is more of a sisterhood than a friendship and letting that go can be extremely painful. As hard as it was letting her go, I knew that our friendship was bringing us both down and it was time to say goodbye. I continued this process over a year, slowly letting go of people who were no longer positive in my new life. I tried to only surround myself with loving, kind people who genuinely cared for and respected me.
Next up, I made a decision to deplete my savings account to do nice things for myself. I quit my shitty, emotionally draining, decent paying job for a fun, part-time, low key job that paid diddly squat so I could travel and have fun. Maybeeee this wasn’t the wisest decision that I’ve made financially, but guess what? I needed to escape, explore and push boundries so I could figure out the new Alex that I wanted to be. I met my Dad’s mom for the first time in Florida (life changing), had a peaceful vacay in Duluth, caused mayhem in Vegas twice inthe span of a couple months, camped(ew) in Wisconsin, wined and dined in Laguna Beach and spent an amazing 5 days in the Virgin Islands
Exploring the world, being a little reckless, saying no to things I didn’t want and saying yes to the things I did, allowed me to figure out who I was and who I wanted to become. I was prepared to start living the life I wanted. I traded in my crappy-paying fun job for an awesome, salary paying job in a field I went to school for. I continued to set healthy boundries with friends and family and learned to roll with the punches. As time passed by, I felt stronger and it began to get easier to say no and not worry as much.
And then one day I had this shocking realization; I was happy. Like literally the happiest I have ever been. I don’t know how to explain it, I just felt lighter, freer, and more confident. I was able to live in the moment for the first time in forever and take things as they came. I was officially New Alex. New Alex still loves and cares for others a ridiculous amount but she also loves and cares for herself too. Sometimes you have to turn your whole world upside down in order to find your own way of being rightside up. Don’t be afraid to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone. In fact, I encourage you to put yourself first, make mistakes and be a little selfish now and then. Your twenties are going to be filled with changes and hardships and thats ok. These life lessons shape us into who we are meant to become.