I've been doing a lot of thinking lately (it's been /that/ kind of few weeks) and I know most of you probably won't care but I feel like sharing anyway because sometimes you just need to.
It's already October, the year is coming to a close, exams are only a few weeks away and I just finished the last week of classes as a young and optimistic first-year. As a result I can't help thinking about who I was a year ago, even 6 months ago, and who I am now, and who I used to be all throughout my 19 years of life. And who I might become in the next five. I know I'm not the same anymore. I mean, I'm still me (whoever that is) but I'm not the me that I was (does that even make sense?). For a start I've seriously come out of my shell. I'm still shy and more than a little awkward but definitely not as much I was a couple of years ago and I've become quite good at overcoming said shyness and actually interacting with other people.
And I like it. I like the way I've changed. I like being more confident. I like being able to talk to strangers without freaking out. I like being less awkward around people I don't know so well. It's made making new friends so much easier, and I like meeting new people. I like getting to know them. But most of all, I like that I'm me. This wasn't always the case. I've had confidence issues since I was 12 and have only recently become comfortable with my own skin. But two years ago I decided that it didn't matter. It's not that I decided that what other people think doesn't matter, because to me it still does. It's more that I only let it affect me if I wanted it to, and that it only matters in the ways that helped me grow as a person. I stopped wishing I was someone else. And once I did I was able to come to terms with me, to love me, and not only that I was able to grow into the person that I wanted to be. And I did it on my terms. And I will continue to do so until the day I die.
In saying all of this, I'm a naturally optimistic and easy-going person and I always have been. My aunty used to call me a "user-friendly baby" so getting along with other people has never been the issue. It's that I wasn't comfortable initiating social contact because I was so unsure of myself. It's still not my forte really, but it's easier than it used to be.
I know this society favours the extrovert, but we can't all be out-going social butterflies. However, that doesn't mean that the introvert has to miss out. I think it was moving into the uni hall knowing literally no-one which really did the trick. It forced me to either make friends or become a recluse. So I made friends. I could have become a recluse, it would have been easy, and maybe somebody else in position would have, but I didn't. I chose to be social, and meet new people (even if I haven't liked them all), and make new friends, and do something different. And I've loved it. Overall this has been a truly incredible year. Okay, so assignments are stressful and exams suck and classes don't always have you on the edge of your seat, but the positives have outweighed the negatives by far and I wouldn't change it for the world.
I mean, I still find 'real life' somewhat terrifying, and by no means do I have all the answers (the opposite in fact) but I almost feel as though I've come to peace with that. And it makes life just that little bit less scary.