Hang around Facebook or Pinterest long enough and you’re bound to see them: life-affirming quotes about how you don’t have any responsibility to anyone else but you. They’ll say you should never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s opinion. They’ll say you should forget about what other people want from you and focus on your own needs. They’ll say that people are going to judge you anyway, so stop living your life to impress others and start living life to impress yourself.
Even Jared Leto said that you should “never live your life for anyone but yourself.” And he’s wrong.
Now, I’m not saying that you aren’t important. I’m not saying that your hopes, your dreams, your opinions and your aspirations aren’t important. They most certainly are. What I am saying is that focusing solely on yourself is far too narrow a scope and you are drastically limiting what your life could be. There is a far bigger, far more profound and ultimately far more rewarding picture out there.
Maybe you’d prefer to waste away your Friday night, curled up with an awesome video game, but your best friend just suffered through a nasty breakup and could use a sympathetic ear. Maybe you feel like having pizza tonight, but your friend from out of town has yet to experience the affordable sushi scene in Vancouver. Maybe, you don’t want to dress up as Elsa for Hallowe’en, but it’d make your niece the happiest little girl in the world.
Sometimes, these sacrifices are for the greater good, precisely because you are no longer living just for yourself.
As much as you would like to be completely free and utterly independent, you have a responsibility to your loved ones. Your perspective shifts as the most important things in your life become less about you and more about something greater than you. It could be the startup business you’re building with some colleagues. Or it could be about your core family unit. All parents make a lot of sacrifices, but most of them will tell you that they’re worth it.
It goes without saying that my life will never be the same now that little Adalynn is such an integral part of it. She’s going to change how I approach my life at home, just as much as she’s going to affect how I go about my professional duties too. With her arrival has come a great deal of chaos and responsibility, but there is also a renewed sense of calm and purpose.
I’m not living my life for me. I’m not even living my life for her. What I am doing is living my life for us.