To The Guy Who Taught Me To Always Put Myself First

People come into our lives for a reason. He didn’t come into my life so I could check off “get the hot guy at work to ask me out” of my to-do list. He came into my life to teach me one thing. My family has no idea that one piece of advice saved me. It saved me from a detrimental life, bad relationships with friends and family, running away and losing myself completely. My family sees him as a loser I was stupid for dating; however, I see him as someone who was heaven sent to push me in the right direction

He was hot. At first, I wanted him to ask me out for that reason and that reason only. (Oh, come on. Like you have never done that before.) Not a lie. When he first got hired at my work, I made it my personal goal to get him to ask me out.

I normally don’t date co-workers; it’s a personal rule that I made because it’s just better to avoid any awkward situations. But this time, I made an exception. At the end of the month I was moving, so if things didn’t work out, I wouldn’t have to worry about the awkward run-ins at work for too long.

So I played it cool as a cucumber. One day, I saw him walking around the office aimlessly. As he walked past my desk I stopped him and introduced myself. I asked for his information to put into the company’s system and sparked up a conversation from there. So smooth, I know.

A week later, he asked me out. We were normally super sarcastic to each other and would joke around a lot so I couldn’t tell if he was joking when he asked me out so at first I jokingly said no. Don’t ever jokingly say no to a date; it’s a bad idea.

A week after that horribly awkward encounter and after I started to fix my twisted sense of humor, we went to a dinner and a movie. From then on, things snowballed. We casually dated the whole month before I left. We would see movies, take random trips to IKEA, drive all over the valley shopping for his new truck, and go ice skating. Despite a few flaws, the relationship was good.

However, my family did not like him (that was kind of a big flaw). They had only met him a couple times and only really knew him from the things that I had mentioned. They had no real reason to dislike him, they just did. He came over to my house for Christmas (long story) and my sisters seemed to enjoy him while we were playing Mario Kart. He also came over another Sunday and had dinner with us. My family saw this guy as a person who I should not be dating.

One thing that my family didn’t realize was how important this “drip”, as my dad called him, was to me. Sure, he wasn’t the best guy for me and I wasn’t the best girl for him but he taught me something that I will never forget. He changed my life with one sentence and for that, I am forever grateful for him.

One night we were laying on his bed watching Hawaii-Five-O. I was lying on one side of the bed, with him on the other and his roommate’s cat between us. As we laid there quietly watching the show, he turned to me and started asking me questions about the way I lived my life. I was hesitant to answer. The past few months had been a living hell. I had just moved home from school and was struggling emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. That month had been the darkest month of my life. I was living my life in secret so my parents wouldn’t give me a huge lecture or talk about me behind my back to my sisters. My life was one big lie and I was looking for an out. Not a suicidal out, but a way for me to leave my childhood home and start over. I tried to string words together but they were not coming out in a logical order. After a few minutes of word vomit, he stopped me.

He seemed concerned. Before I could muster up another bullshit answer, he paused the show, turned to me and said,

“I want you to do things because you want to, not because other people tell you to.”

I was floored. I think for a solid 12 seconds my brain had completely shut down. I had never met someone before who cared enough about me to want me to live my life the way that I wanted to live my life. He had a different perspective on life than those surrounding me. My parents and friends are all the same religion and all believe in the same principles. All of them encouraged me daily that I should be gung-ho about living the same life that they did. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t happy. I liked certain aspects of how they lived but I liked to be a bit more open-minded. I did not want to live my life for someone else, I wanted to live it for me. And that is what he was telling me to do.

After I moved away and after we stopped talking, his piece of advice has stayed with me. I think about it every time my family asks me to do something, or when a friend wants me to go to an event. It may sound selfish, but I think of myself. I think back to that cold December night when my life was going in a direction that I did not like and he redirected me. I now take a moment to think about what I want and where I want my life to go.

For 19 years I had lived my life for other people, trying to make them happy. Now, I put myself first, despite what others might think. Sometimes my family thinks I’m damned and other times they think I am inspiring. Over the course of the last year, my life has taken a major turn for the better. It’s all thanks to him.

Feature image via WeHeartIt

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