I wrote something to myself last April, and well, it seems I've been having existential questions for at least that long.
April 10, 2016: It’s weird to think I’m ‘starting over’ before I’ve even hit my 20s, but I am.
It’s not exactly the major changes which define this process – but gradually shifting my mindset in hope that the last year of tumultuous relationships won’t repeat itself, at least not in the same way. Existing and going through the motions is not a way to live, and I’ve been told that ever since I hit high school – but when I sank low enough, reasoning wasn’t enough. I was fighting to pretend to be happy and optimistic about my future, when I was really falling to pieces inside. I defined myself by my grades and my refusal to open up, and as someone who rarely lets the truth spill from her, pretending to be someone I’m not ended up doing a lot more harm than good.
When I lost someone close to me this year, I ended up in a church saying goodbye and realized the most important thing he ever taught me was this – never stop fighting. His history was marred with tragedies and unspeakable obstacles, yet he came out of it and created a life. His legacy in my mind is simple – don’t think too far ahead and do what makes you happy. ‘Starting over’ will always be a process – but it’s a process I’m appreciating. I’ve smiled more this year, said I hate things out of habit rather than actually meaning it, and loved that feeling of nervousness that shivers through my body as I embrace new challenges. It’s more than just letting the future go, but less than shaking up my entire world. I’m learning to start over as the semi-person I am, putting myself in situations which are out of my comfort zone, and hoping for the best, but not let my self-doubt dictate me as it has so much in the past.
My past isn’t particularly eventful, yet it’s filled with those small moments of awful tantrums, tears of failure and stress, and above all, the undeniable truth that I continually hinged my happiness based on someone’s completely subjective evaluation of my self-worth. I still do it now, stalking LinkedIn pages and staring at achievements I don’t have – but I remember one thing now. All our life paths are different. I don’t necessarily need the achievements to drive my future or my happiness, and it’s what my current journey is. I’m not restarting based on my university degree; I’m learning to be happy and speak up instead of letting my voice get buried under the chatter. I’m committing to challenges which shake me to my core, and learning to open up about everything – my sexuality, my fears and my dreams – because I’ve learnt far too often in my short life that faking it is more pain than I could imagine.
My life could veer in many different directions and I’m okay with that – because I’m learning to hit my stride, and do little things to make my life less riddled with false hope and loneliness. This won’t be my last chance to start over, and that’s good because I can only get better at it, right?