Sunday, February 8, 2009

Opposite day--er, life...

Lately I've been doing some more self-introspection. I've decided that I'm this dichotomous person who's suffering from a few different complexes. In short, I'm not exactly the person people expected me to become. But hey, that's ok. I'm thinking about my past and figuring out the girl I used to be vs. the one I am now...and I've gotta tell you, it's quite different. There are definitely some good changes but also some changes of which I'm kind of ashamed.

I used to....
...love waking up early. I'd get up on Saturday mornings at 5am because Sonic the Hedgehog was on. Mostly I just think that I wanted free reign of the television for a little while before my other siblings got up and started putting their two cents in as to what we'd watch.

Now I...
...find any possible way to sleep as late as I can. Sometimes my body won't let me, but I love laying in bed, taking hours to finally get up, hoping that I'll doze off again on a lovely Sunday morning.

I used to...
...dress like a dork. In high school, I wore men's jeans, baggy t-shirts, athletic sneakers, and my hair was somewhat awful. It was lo-o-o-o-ng, but it was bad--remember Bro. Keaton? "Annabelle, your bangs are PERFECT!" How embarrassing.

Now I...
...care about my appearance. Ok, I guess that's a little unfair to my former self to say that I didn't care before, but now I can afford to buy the clothes I really like and take time to get my hair the way I want it. When I buy make-up or hair products, I don't necessarily go for the cheapest anymore (ah, the joys of not being a poor college student!). I think I can contribute a small shred of my self-confidence to feeling pride in my appearance. I mean, haven't you ever had one of those days where you feel hot, you know people think you're hot, so you just exude hotness and mettle? I try more often than not to get that vibe going for me, even if the only place I go that day is to work.

I used to...
...think 'holy cow' was a bad thing to say. Hello uptight!

Now I...
...have relaxed and mellowed a little. I remember when I shuddered at the word 'sucks.' Now it's part of my every day vocabulary. And not to worry...I throw a few 'holy cow's into my vocab every now and again.

I used to...
...have goals. Get good grades. Find a good job. Finish my Young Women in Excellence. Become independent.

Now I...
...have accomplished all those goals. I'm finding it hard to set different ones for my life. I mean, what else is there to achieve, really? I guess a husband and family...but I can't exactly say, "Ok, I will be married in the next two years and then in five years, I will have my first child." Life just doesn't work that way. And speaking of that...

I used to...
...think I'd be married at the age of 19. Yes, folks...this was my life plan. I'd get married, drop out of school, and have six kids.

Now I...
...can't imagine the person I would have become had I done any of that. And not to say that doesn't work for some people! I know a lot of people who have discovered themselves young and are now leading wonderfully happy lives. I just know now that it wouldn't have worked for me. I would have ended up resenting the person I had become, all the while feeling helpless and unable to break out of that shell I would have erected around myself because I would have felt the crushing weight of responsibility calling my name every day, 24/7. There are so many lessons I've learned from not following that path, and I'm proud of my accomplishments. I've got a degree, and awesome job, and some of the people I've met in my single years are the coolest around. All of this made possible by NOT following my silly, naive life plan. Plus, I've discovered that patience is not one of my strong suits (no, really?!), so six children probably would have been the end of my sanity. And like I said before, please don't be offended if this was your path and it worked for you. Everyone has their strengths, and I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have been mine at the age of 19. This has taken up a lot of space in my thoughts over the past 5-7 years...and hindsight is always 20/20.

I used to...
...be afraid to do things by myself.

Now I...
...relish in alone time and discovering things on my own. This isn't to say that I wouldn't rather be doing things with other people. What I'm saying is an entirely different approach to 'alone.' For instance, on any given weekend, I love doing things with friends (but it's not to say I wallow in misery if i don't have plans...trust me, I find things to fill the time). No, what I'm saying here is that I used to be afraid to find things on my own, to make decisions. I would seize up with fear at the thought of having to approach new situations without someone there to be a buffer. I remember my first year of college just being so unsure and not knowing anyone and trying to figure my way. How awkward I must have seemed...how unsocial and weird I was! A lot of times people tell me that their first impression of me is that I'm stuck up. While there might be a small kernel of truth in that, generally it was just that I was afraid or scared of a new situation. Lately, I've been much better. I've had a few experiences that have forced me out of my comfort zone and gotten me into a much better position to take on the world with confidence. I am not filled with anxiety when I have to do things like figure out the New York subway system on my own. I can now handle doing things like calling the insurance company without grappling with cowardice (but with a small dose of annoyance, of course). I've found that this approach to life helps me be more spontaneous and enjoy things instead of worrying how I'll screw up or stupidly wondering how people are judging me.

I used to...
...stick to my tried and true diet and hesitate at anything unfamiliar that was presented to my palate.

Now I...
...embrace food from all different ethnic backgrounds. I remember when I first tried sushi a few years ago. I was skeptical and timid. But once I dug in and started, I actually enjoyed it! In any given week, you'll probably find me pushing my comfort zone a little. I still don't handle spicy things very well, but I've figured out that most foods can be tempered to my liking. The other day I was eating Thai food and tried eggplant for the first time (weird that I've never had it, I know). And it was good--even though it was described to me as a 'squash,' and anyone who's eaten with me more than once probably knows I despise squash. But now I've blown apart that comfort zone and found that I love trying new cuisine. Some of my favorites include Indian food and Greek food.

I'm sure there a myriad of other things that have changed about me as I'm slowly morphing into an actual adult who can be both fun and independent. Really, I have a long way to go on my way to being who I actually want to be, but the way I see it, we all have issues we work on, problems we battle, idiosyncracies we deal with, and life paths that take us to places we never thought.

3 Comments:

Blogger LindsayKeller said...

Growing up and finding yourself does kind of rock, doesn't it? :)

February 8, 2009 at 3:24 PM

 
Blogger Erika said...

I really really liked that post, it was so interesting, and it made me wonder who I thought I used to be and who I am now... maybe I will have to try to write it down like you.

And I TOTALLY thought "shut up" and "stupid" were swear words when I was little. I've lightened up a little too... :)

February 8, 2009 at 9:19 PM

 
Blogger Gus said...

Wow. Its hard to imagine you without confidence! I love the person you are now and I know it could not have come without challenges. I pride myself on being unchangeable, but looking at it now, I think that that's the wrong way to look at life.
You rock and keep them hits coming.

PS: There where a lot of words that I considered curses when I was a teen, but didn't stop me form saying them :( One of those changes that came with age I guess was to take them out of my vocabulary. : )

February 9, 2009 at 9:57 AM

 

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