I Am Putting Me First

Disclaimer: These words are almost completely stolen from a recently retired cyclist, Thomas Dekker. His statement showed up in my Twitter feed and though I’ve never followed him, I was intrigued enough to click through to read his statement. His words were brief, yet powerful, and I saved them immediately. I challenged myself to rewrite his statement substituting my own situation where it made sense. This is the result of that challenge. I was surprised to see how much was relevant to my own situation and am grateful to have had the opportunity for this exercise.

For months I’ve been thinking about it. I have pondered. I’ve weighed my thoughts carefully, I oversaw the options and considered them one by one. I’ve listened to my mind and to my heart. Now I have made up my mind.

I am putting me first.

I’ve experienced a lot as an adult. I’ve succeeded and failed, I fell and stood up again. I learned a lot – mostly about myself. I’ve seen all sides of the coin: the front and the back, but also the ragged edges on the sides.

As a young adult, I wanted one thing: to make a difference. And preferably as much as possible. I wanted to help at all costs. That was my strength, and at the same time it was the trap I fell into; it has taken me far and let me sink deep.

In recent years I have come to realize more and more that there is more to life than helping other people. I helped for the love of helping, not because I wanted to win favor and advance. And I have been open about my own past to warn others not to make the same mistakes I did.

My last months as a team member I gave it my all, during continued attacks on our team. I wanted to prove I can help correct things, and also I wanted to know whether I still want to be selfless. The answer now, a few weeks later, is clear to me.

My whole life up to now was dominated by selflessness – but I do not want to give myself, my energy, my resources to everyone else any longer. My career,  helping others was beautiful, ugly, intense and edifying.

I’m ready for a new step. For me.

My sincere thanks to Thomas Dekker for putting these words out there, please forgive me for stealing them.