I’ve been mulling this over for awhile, and indeed began making gradual changes in my life over the past year, but it’s official: I am full-on rebranding myself. And I don’t just mean in my professional life.
To be honest, I’ve come to realize that the people in my life deserve a better Kevin than they’ve been getting.
Obviously, that’s not an easy realization to come to about oneself. But really, it was long overdue. I had become bitter and cynical about a lot of things. I complained incessantly, I was pessimistic, I focused on the negative, and I was often just plain unpleasant. The truth was, I didn’t really like the person I was showing the world.
There were a few wake-up calls. One was my increasing frustration with a friend whose Facebook feed was a neverending stream of negativity, and my growing suspicions that I was behaving similarly. Another was a senior executive at my company who gently gave me advice about keeping a good attitude even when things weren’t going the way I wanted. There was another colleague and friend who, when I complimented him over dinner for being so cheerful and optimistic, shared that he’d just come to realize that life was too short to get upset over little things.
And then, there was my wedding.
First, a dear friend gave a speech in tribute to how my relationship of seven years had changed me. She noted that “Kevin of seven years ago” had little patience, and indeed, was a bit of cynical bastard. (Guilty as charged!) But she also observed that seven years later, I’m a drastically different Kevin: affectionate, warm, relaxed, and romantic. I’ll take the compliments, but I concede, there’s a lot of room left for improvement.
Moments later, in my wedding speech to my husband, I referenced one of my tattoos. It teaches to do the right thing for the right thing’s sake, to correct injustice when you see it, to be generous to those who need it, to inspire other people by your example, and to make the world a better place because you are a part of it. I told our guests that Sal made me want to try harder to live up to those ideals, and that I knew that I didn’t always get it right.
The message, from others and from myself, has been clear. I need to try harder to be the person that I want to be. I need to keep working on myself, to fight the temptation to be negative, to bring some positivity into the world around me. I want to make the world — your world — better because I’m a part of it.
I have a lot to be happy about. I have parents that love me, lifelong friends who miraculously are still in my life, a good job with a great company, and in general a bright future… And, almost a year later, a wonderful husband who gives me reason every day to be happy. I have plenty of good fortune to celebrate and draw strength from.
So keep me honest, dear friends and readers. When I slip, rein me in. When I start complaining beyond the point that it’s healthy, call me on it. If you find me dwelling on negativity, give me a good metaphorical shake. Hold me accountable to being the positive force that I want to be, that I can be, that I should be, so that I can live up to my potential.
But please do be patient with me; I’m really trying.