The key to happiness is being selfish

I’m serious so I will say it again: The key to happiness is being selfish.

Now, stop making selfish a bad word.

Ever plunked a few coins in the Salvation Army tin at Christmas? Why did you do it? Was it because it made you feel good? You are so selfish.

Have you ever given up your seat on the train for a woman holding a child or an elderly woman left standing? Why? Because you would rather sacrifice your seat than watch them stand? Selfish you.

Smiled at a stranger because you think he looked like he’s had a rotten day? Make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when he smiled back? You selfish bitch.

I was like you. I thought it was wrong to be selfish. I wanted to be a giving and kind and caring person. But the reasons I wanted to be a giving and kind and caring person were because I liked how it made me feel and I didn’t like how it made me feel to be a shallow, stingy, cold-hearted cow. And that, folks, makes me selfish and now, folks, it’s something I am okay with.

My choices are mine to make. No one else in this world has control over what I do or don’t do or say or don’t say or go or don’t go. Only me. And I need to make sure that those choices I make are the choices I make for me. Being selfish does not keep me from doing for others, in fact, I have found that it has made me appreciate the sacrifices I make more because I am aware that the choice is mine and that removes future resentment.

To explain what I mean. When someone asks you to do a them a favor, you have two options: do the favor or decline. If you really don’t want to but your friend needs your help and so you do the favor, you’ve made the choice that in spite of not wanting to, you help him anyway. Your choice. Not his. He merely asked a question and you merely answered. You forfeit the right to resent that you missed the new episode of Glee. You could be a jerk and resent that missed episode anyway, but the choice was yours and yours alone. If you let guilt rule you, then you only have yourself to blame. It’s okay to say no. It’s better to say no than to be unfairly upset later for a friend who just asked for your help. If you had said no, he would have figured out something else.

Learning how to be selfish has really opened my eyes to how to make myself happy. If I visit it is because I want to visit, not because you guilted me into it or I felt obligated but because I decided that I wanted to see you and be with you. When I help you move to your new house it is because I want to help. I am happy with my decisions and rest assured I won’t call in a favor because “Remember that time I came and saw you but I really didn’t want to and had other things to do…so you totally owe me.”

No one can make you do something or make you feel some way unless you let them. So get out there and start being selfish. The world would be a better place if we were all a bit more selfish more of the time.

It could not have been more perfect

It could not have been more perfect.

I turned off the main road and out towards rolling countryside. Backroads upon backroads and twists and turns. I drove past horses in paddocks and harvested fields. The houses got bigger and farther apart. I breathed deeply and after all these months of planning and waiting to finally be able to take my next move, and the first real one towards my new life, I finally felt like I could relax.

I turned off Flowing Spring Road and GPS told me I had reached my destination. The house before me was perfect. I hadn’t been here before but I had known I was coming for a while. I liked the idea of being surprised…and I was, pleasantly. On the corner was a very typical Pennsylvania small, historic town “General Store/Post Office” which still housed the post office for Birchrunville and now the Birchrunville Store Cafe. Quaint. Perfect. The place I was going was the big old farmhouse across the street and running along its side was the flowing spring. A small bridge was the walkway to the front door. There waiting for me on the brisk October morning was Brenda waiting to give me a hug.

Next she showed me to my room. I could be living in a closet for all I care “My girls are going to love it here” was all that was running through my head. Out in the very grande foyer was a room that Brenda had designated just for me and my girls. Its got built-ins and a fire-place and king sized bed for us Three Musketeers and it’s separate enough from the rest of the house with our doggie gate we can have our own space. I am speechless. It is perfect.

our bedroom

our sitting area

A quick tour followed and Brenda bounded off to do her life things for the day while I unpacked my 4 plastic totes and 2 dogs. I had my books and movies unloaded in half an hour. I jumped back in my car and head to Caroline’s so we could go grab my bookshelf/desk. We arrived back to the house, unloaded my things while the girls ran and splashed through the flowing spring (I knew they’d love it).

Out of corner of my eye I saw a man approaching wearing a chef’s coat with hands in his pocket. “Uh, this is not public parking,” he said quietly. I’d only been here half a day and I was not looking to make trouble. I replied, “Oh. I live here,” called my girls to me, Caroline pulled off, and we walked into the house.

Hours later when Brenda returns home she tells me who it was that I had met; Francis Trzeciak, owner and operator of the Birchrunville Store Cafe and owner of my perfect new place, and that she had forgotten to check with him on the okayness of my temporary lodgings. That would explain the confused look when I told him I lived there because I’m certainly not his silver-haired, mother of 3 children, ex-wife.

The girls and I have until January to find a new place to live.

It could not have been more perfect…until it could.