Since this is a bit of a wordy post, I’ve included my very first (!!) podcast to spice things up. Be sure to let me know if you like this format, and check it out below!
I’ve been putting off writing this post for a few weeks now – partially because of exams, and also because it’s no mean feat to bare your soul to the Internet. However, my blog’s mantra is “growing up + getting happy”, so I feel a kind of duty to share my humble life lessons here for others to potentially/hopefully/possibly benefit from.
It’s really not easy, this “growing up” thing. The further I venture down this path, the more I learn: about myself and about the world. It’s hard work to fully accept your faults or weaknesses, and is sometimes even harder to appreciate your strengths.
One of the struggles to face is that your “ideal” or dream self – the self you dreamed of being as a kid or teen, before your life “really” started – is now conflicted. It’s about that time in your life that you expected your ideal self to come into being, but it’s proving more difficult to become that person than you expected. Or, it is for me at least.
Growing up, I had this picture in my head of who’d I’d one day become: a headstrong, travel-hungry extravert who’d be adventuring whenever possible, fiercely independent and completely unafraid. Instead, I became an introverted homebody who loves to write, cook, take photos, spend time with close friends and who appreciates comfort and routine. See the conflict? The problem is, I still have a hunger for that ideal self – I want to be an adventurer, I want to be fearless. It’s not that I’m unhappy with who I’ve become necessarily, but I still want to be more.
Luckily for me, I’m still growing. Last year for example, I was a hot mess – I called my Mom almost every night, I constantly sobbed into my Calculus textbook, and I completely dreaded trying anything new because I was clinging to any shred of comfort and normalcy I could find. I had a rough time, but it passed and I grew. I’m now standing on my own two feet. I’ve slowly woven a new life for myself, filling in the holes with friends and extra-curriculars, at my own pace and on my own terms. I’ve created comfort, allowing myself to branch out, to try more, and to experience the world without feeling overwhelmed.
The journey will never be finished, though. There is no end product. We are all, perpetually, works-in-progress. (Don’t you love it?)
So I’m still facing resistance from myself all the time – I still struggle to branch out and grow. Which is why, when my adventurous and fearless boyfriend suggested a spontaneous, weekend getaway to Quebec City, I resisted. I’m sure many of you would jump on such an opportunity in a heartbeat, so why did I immediately start making excuses?
“I don’t have time, I don’t have money, I couldn’t possibly, dear me – the logistics of it all!”
What’s that I hear? Total b.s. I had just finished my last midterm, I had a golden grace period before finals, my birthday was in less than a week, and hell – it would be fun!
But I worry though. I’d never been on such a spontaneous trip, one made without careful planning or, dare I say it, obsessing? It’s all I’ve ever known! Working hard to change that is, well..hard. In retrospect, it seems like the most minute molehill in the history of the world, but at the time it made me nervous to dive headfirst into the unknown. The controlling half of me was resisting, while my adventurous half got giddy at the mere thought of doing something so exciting!
Luckily, my adventurous (ideal) half won out, and it was absolutely wonderful. It was rewarding to push myself (again, many of you might not understand why it would be difficult, but trust me, for me it was!) and find that I have the freedom and power to do whatever I want to in this world. My actual and ideal selves met for a moment, and it made me so happy, I can’t wait for more.
Part of growing up is realizing that you’re far from perfect. The other part, in my opinion, is working hard on the rough parts of yourself so that you can expand and grow to your greatest potential. It’s striving to overcome fear and resistance at every step of the journey.
This little challenge taught me quite a bit about becoming the person I want to be. I learned that it will probably be a fight, every step of the way. There will be a constant battle within myself, I’ll have to push myself through the resistance and fight for my ideal self. I’ll need constant reminders to myself that I can change, I can be whomever I wish, I can accomplish anything I choose, and I’ll be just fine. I discovered that it’s not as easy I thought to be the person I want to be, that it takes real struggle and courage. But I also learned that it’s very rewarding, and ?very worth it.
What have you struggled with in the past? What’s taught you the most about who you want to become? How do you work to get there? What are your fears/strengths/challenges?