Nov. 3 marks the one-year anniversary of one of the toughest decisions of my adult life. One year since I let go of the last part of my comfort zone, my security blanket. One year since I broke up with my high school boyfriend.

When we broke up it was the most satisfyingly selfish choice. I finally decided to put myself first and it was transformative.

In the past year, I applied to school for something I love, lost 65lbs, dove headfirst into my music and met an amazing man who loves my vibrant personality and matches my passion for life.

I’ve always been a confident person and I didn’t really notice any difference in myself until people started asking me “are you okay?” It made me reflect on my life and helped lead me to the realization that I was in a rut.

I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I was working a dead-end job and had become distant from most of my friends.

I wasn’t happy and it took everything in me to recognize that I had been holding onto my ex for so long because I wasn’t sure what I could be without him. How could I know ‘me’ when I’d been ‘we’ for the past nine years?

But, for the first time in my life, I feel free to be who I am. I would never have put myself first in all aspects of my life while still holding onto the last layer of my former self. Letting go of my ex has given me the opportunity to focus on my own personal growth.

This is not a decision that was made lightly, but if I could give my younger self any advice it would be that you only have so long in your life when you don’t have to take into account anyone else, so don’t waste it by compromising.

Take every opportunity and let life come to you. You’ll be surprised what the world has in store when you open yourself up to new experiences and throw yourself head first into what makes you happiest.

Now instead of people asking me if I’m okay, I constantly get, “You seem so happy/different/positive” and “You’ve really come out of your shell.”

I must say, it’s really nice to hear.