25 and Self-ish
By: Brittany Berger Photography: Brittany Berger
Prior to turning 25 I knew I was approaching a road in which I didn’t know the end destination. It’s not that I didn’t want to know where the road lead to, I was just too afraid to leave the metaphorical bus stop to find out. Approaching this generationally identified “quarter-life crisis,” I ask myself one question:
“Am I happy?”
A query, so simple in form, yet so heavy in context. Every morning without fail, I received the same consistent answer:
“No, I am not.”
So what was I going to do about it? I was going to choose me. By choosing myself, I was blessed with a new life experience that would inspire me to write my first book, 25 and Self-ish.
I had to accept that I was unhappy in every aspect of my life. In personal relationships, my career, and the city that I call home. I had to put into realization that the only person who would truly make me happy, was myself. For this reason, I knew I had to choose me. By making myself a priority in order to solve life’s challenges, I found my new definition of being self-ish. By learning to be self-ish I had to make a change, even if it meant learning to be uncomfortable.
The word selfish by definition is perceived as a negative word. I decided to switch the perspective and view it as a positive. By not being selfish I listened to and ended up choosing everyone’s opinions over my own. I decided to look at this upcoming year as an experiment: to put myself first and act the opposite of what I would instinctually do. Instinctually, I would put everyone’s needs before mine. Now, I magnify the view and prioritize where my needs stand. I dropped the judgment, befriended the fear, and moved forward with myself, for myself.
This new life-practice introduced me to a limitless, soulmate type of love I couldn’t believe I was experiencing, to then find myself drowning in the sorrows of a cureless heartbreak. This forced me into an emotional rollercoaster where I needed to decide what next step I was going to take in my life. Was I going to hide beneath the covers in my tears paralyzed in an emotional state of being? Or was I going to take these emotions and use them as fuel to guide me in pursuit of my divine path? I made the decision to pour all of my spirit into my work, only to find that I would pull my spirit out of it. I continued down the road into the unknown, not anticipating that I would meet my most true, authentic self. This practice led to a journey of self-discovery, and by choosing me, I can happily say, I was found.
Writing this book allowed me to shed and expose all my insecurities and vulnerabilities, and pursue expressive freedom. On paper, I thought I had it all. In reality, I was emotionally empty. I put everything before me including my career, resulting in an imbalance of priorities. Instead of looking at this phase as a crisis, I chose to look at it as a solution. Because I was not happy, I went on a search for happiness. I searched through bookshelves and online articles, still not being able to find what I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for the happily-ever-after, or the light at the end of the tunnel; I was looking for a relatable experience to expand my consciousness and find that happiness is possible. And if I couldn’t find it, I would create it. By choosing to create my own happiness, I became 25 and Self-ish.
I choose to live this life for me because we have one life to live. I am no longer concerned with making the right or wrong choice, but instead listening to the voice within and trusting that it knows best. Life isn’t easy and it’s not supposed to be, but the way we choose to live it is entirely up to us. For me, I choose to be present. For me, I choose to be happy. For me, I choose to be self-ish. I want to be the best me, for me.
For you, I invite you to reflect on your life and ask yourself the one question that sparked me to write this book:
“Are you happy?”
If your honest answer is yes, I hope you share your happiness with others. If your answer is no, thank yourself for your honesty, and look for your solution from within. First, take this moment to accept all the pieces of yourself that make up who you are. Accept every imperfection, disagreement, and insecurity blinding you in the daily battle to feel beautiful. Arise out of bed every morning and be beautiful for yourself. If you are going to show up for anyone, make a vow to show up for yourself.
So, how will you be self-ish today? This answer will be different for everyone, but I advise you to find your own journey while being a little self-ish when you discover your answer. We all have the answers. We just have to open ourselves to find it. Listen and trust your self, and drop the -ish.
25 and Self-ish:
I always played it safe and never took risks. I had complete control over my life.The year before I turned twenty-five everything changed. I experienced true love and true heartbreak, career success and failure, and crossed the bridge of fear leaving everything behind to move to another country. How did I avoid a quarter life crisis? By learning to be self-ish.
“I choose to not look at this quarter life milestone as a crisis, but to look at it as a solution. To choose not to drown, but to float, and take the time to figure out my next destination. That sink or swim millisecond is the exact moment to acknowledge that we always have a choice to make in our lives. The Quarter Life Solution: Reflect on where you are in your life. Contemplate. Are you happy here? If not, what would you change? Is this job working for you? Is this relationship fulfilling you? Is this life serving you? Think self-ishly. It’s okay in these moments to put yourself first. You will find that the only person who can truly make you happy, is you.”