I do what I want.
I really do. The past year I’ve been making a conscious effort to do what I want — and perhaps more importantly — not do what I don’t want.
This may sound incredibly selfish or irresponsible, but I disagree.
This idea first started circulating in my brain a couple of summers ago when I felt a lot of social pressure to attend a number of baby and wedding showers. I decided I would only go to the ones I actually wanted to attend, because if it were me, I wouldn’t want anyone coming to my shower because they felt like they had to be there. It was such a relief! I felt I had control over my life, that I could make my own decisions, and maybe the best part was that I was able to feel genuine enthusiasm for the events I did choose to attend. I want to have that same feeling of freedom — of acting out of choice, not obligation — in everything I do.
This doesn’t mean I enjoy every single thing I do. For example, I don’t always enjoy doing the dishes, but I do it. But I don’t do it because I want to do the dishes, I do it because I want to be helpful. If I didn’t want to help, then I would most certainly not do the dishes. I don’t always enjoy cleaning the house, but I want to live in a clean house, and so I choose to clean. I don’t always want to get up early and go to work, but I do it because I love my job and I want to do it well. It’s a choice I make every day — not an obligation.
Of course, in reality, we are all obligated to do certain things, but I do my best to avoid acting out of obligation. If I really have to do something, I try to find a reason why I might want to do that thing so that I can find joy in doing it. For example, I am obligated to pay my mortgage every month, and the truth is I want to do that, because I want to be a responsible adult, and I want to live in my beautiful house.
If this perspective still sounds selfish to you, consider for a moment how much more it means to you when someone pays you a compliment or does you a favor — not because they have to do it, but because they want to do it.