That age old question – do people really change? When we adapt and grow into new situations, are we becoming someone else, or do the fundamentals of who we are actually change at all? I have a feeling it’s a bit of both.
If I think about the person I am today, I can barely recognise myself compared to five years ago. I go to Pilates classes, drink herbal tea, and practice mindfulness. Who is this person?!
At school I changed from timid bully-victim, to confident public speaker. At university I was climber, course rep, box office manager. I hiked Kilimanjaro with a group of students I didn’t know. I travelled around by myself just because I wanted to.
I sometimes feel like the old me – the uni me – was fearless, nothing phased me, and I had no doubts that I could achieve anything. Something shifted after I graduated, and self-doubt became prevalent. I was too scared to climb routes I would have barely looked at before. I was crippled with anxiety. I believe this was because I had left the constructs of the education system – 18 years of rules, routine, and knowing my next step – and I was floundering in the big wide world. I am slowly finding my place again, and where I fit as someone new.
I am a changed person. Some of my fundamental core values have shifted significantly in the last 10 years, and things that I thought were unshakeable I reassessed and found no longer resonated.
My approach to life went from “I must get a career that will see me financially stable forever” to “What I do doesn’t matter, it’s who I’m with and where I am that’s important”. I thought renting would be fine for at least another decade, but now I own a house. I always wanted a turn-key property and hated the idea of renovations, and I now have a half-built kitchen and a bedroom with a falling down ceiling. And a massive hole exposing a 100-year old fireplace in the dining room.
Changing is not a bad thing. Someone I knew from school who was a nightmare child is now travelling the world volunteering, and all things considered now seems to be a remarkable human being. Change shows that you engage with life and don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut. I saw an interesting phrase the other day – ‘the only fish that go with the flow are already dead’. By pushing against the tide, finding what works, rubbing against problems, you erode, mould, adapt and ultimately become a new version of yourself. The grain of sand changing into a pearl. Cheese-tastic, but true.
In 5 years’ time, I will no doubt have changed again. I will be a wife. I may well be a mother. Who knows where I’ll be working or living. I will look back on this time and… smile? Grimace? Realise that regardless, it has led to a life I’ve chosen, a future that has shifted every decision I made, and one where I have been endlessly transformed.