I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, often incidentally when conversations have led me to ponder an action in the past I took, or something which has happened which has helped me see a fresh perspective or understanding of myself. I’ve begun thinking about and understanding something about life or me in a new light, often many years later. I’ve grown a lot in the last several years.
I’m sure if I wrote this post in a numerical order, placing first the most elucidating or most impacting observations of my life and me, it would be useful to you, the reader. It’s probably going to be a bit jumbled otherwise. However, I won’t do that. My thoughts of late have been sporadic and random and so I shall write my post as such. Besides, it’s not like at any point in my life, I’ve ever had a Eureka moment or tremendous insight, more valuable than any other which has given me a new instant understanding of myself. But lots of thoughtful reflections and growth recently has sparked bright fireworks of linked threads in my thought processes … many threads. Combined, I feel a lot of change within myself. Yet I have to remember that is simply a reflection on how I feel right now, at this stage of my life. 26 years old, no more, no less. It will change. Hopefully in more good ways.
Yet how I feel next year, what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be here is still unknown. Where or how I’ll get there in life’s path two, five or ten years down the line is undecided and clearly not chosen yet. However I have finally realised that it is only me who can create that path, the route of my everchanging destination. The past is learned and over. I see more clearly now that history only exists because of previous history. It makes change. History creates the present and only I can effect the present to create change for the future, for me in my life. There is no history, no past which has not created change. There is not one person in the history of the earth who has not created the past. I have realised it is only me who chooses where I’ll go in my journey, what I’ll do, how I’ll be me and how happy and successful I can be. That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve realised over the past few years, months and days. Only I can make my life.
Nobody else in the world is responsible for how I lead my life here and now, or how I make those successes and happy times happen for me. The world is not to blame, individuals are not to blame. Circumstances may be unfortunate, or tragic, or difficult, but it is how you cope with these and learn from them which truly moulds us as a person. It is what teaches us. It is what creates our intricately woven journey through life, threading colourful paths and events in each life, connections made and crossed lines over years of history. Overlapping patterns of a long time – meeting, growing, fading and revitalized at times by its weaver, you or me. Jobs which over time, career and life come and go. The tale of your life changed and pulled without mercy through days, years and generations of your inevitable time here.
In your small life in a globe of over 7 billion until the day you die … and the only constant is you. The only force in determining your own future is to be actively engaged in your learning, intrinsic desire to learn… and to understand. Absorb it all, what you see, of what you experience, how it feels, how it touches and feels … of you and your involvement … for this is life. For me, this understanding has only come with growth, maturity and wisdom in a pretty wild and at times terror ridden upside down rollercoaster of a journey so far. If I could tell myself, now what I know now at 26, when I was lost at 16 I would. Yet I know she would never listen to me. As she didn’t many others.
I’ve also come to understand that the journey here for me at 26 is not unique, or unusual. Amongst 7 billion people, there are many lives more challenging than mine, many more desperate and hopeless. I thought I was one of them. A long time ago. When I see myself at 16 wishing I could be anybody else, I didn’t see that any other life is full of similar difficulties, ups and downs. Some people may have very easy lives, but I imagine these are few. Many are like mine, or was. Many more are worse. When I stare at my 16 year old self, I know she would never have believed how much things could change, how much they would. She wouldn’t have understood. But over the years, she’s learnt. To understand that life is continually full of nights and days. There are just as many nights as days. Some are worse than others, in temperament, in weather, in events. To see that these are cyclical and neverchanging so far from the very beginning of the evolution of our Earth and mankind. That there are many natural and unfair disasters everywhere. That even the best people don’t necessarily make it as long as you do. That this is life and whilst seemingly unfair, it just as, true, accurate and predictable as day and night.
But please don’t forget that there are as many good days, events, happiness and success for you as there are the black nights.That you can even make sunny days by yourself. You can make beautiful days appear from nowhere if you look closely enough to see it or if you work hard to learn to see them. Even if it can seem that all the nights have continued for oh so long, dawn will appear, in victory at some point. As a person now, I try my best to focus on the goods, the positives, the overlooked amusements and beauty life shows us every day and that we often miss absorbed in our own lives. I can see the beauty in both the days and the nights whether they be brief or long. This is my woven tapestry of life. I like to take delight in the positives I missed out on such more in the past. I notice the flower blooms in the sunny heat of the day. I see love between people, families I don’t even know. I look at the sunset with new appreciation, its earthy streaks of hot colours flaring across my sky, before streaking into another, far in the distant time zone. I like to laugh, I like to enjoy simple pleasures. I like stopping to remember the sunny times. I like to enjoy them when they are here, however cloudy they may eventually turn. Right then and there, here and now, there are many thankful days of glorious sunshine banked and many more to come. At 16, they were often shadowed and gloomy for long periods. I can look at myself happily now, so proud of how happy and confident, successful and ambitious I am, learning and evolving as a friend, daughter, sister, colleague and person. I never expected to feel this. It’s been a long journey here. And I’m proud and glad to stand here as me, one person in a huge huge world.
It took me a long time to learn that everybody doesn’t have to like me and likewise, I don’t have to like them. We meet roughly I’d guess at most maybe 10,000 people in our life. At 26 I’ve only met hopefully much less than 50 percent of these yet. That’s still a hell of a lot of people. If I liked everybody or they all liked me, something would be very wrong. Most of these people, all except my family and closest members have passed by the gushing ordered river of events in my life which has changed so variably through time. I’ve also lived through mistakes and people- made to learn from. I now see that to make good friends, you also have to be a good friend. I think in naive assumptions, I thought it just happened. If I’m useless at keeping in touch or being reliable in maintaining a friendship, it will burn out. There are many people I have respected and liked in the thousands I have known or met. I have enjoyed many transient and circumstantial friendships. Right now, I have a few. They are valued and strong.
In younger years, I was definitely not a good friend, or person at times. I was stubborn and proud. And right now I can admit that, having learnt from those mistakes. I can be honest with myself. Now I think I understand a little more about not only how important it is to have strong, valued good friendships but also how this happens best when you have a healthy relationship and understanding of and with yourself.
There are many many people I have known or met, who I am not in contact with. We did not meet at the right place in time. Now, if you met me, I don’t think you’d recognize me. In a positive and celebratory way! I’ve come a long way as a person and I’m glad to be here at this point in life. I’ve done a lot of great things. Things I would never have thought of, not even dared to imagine. Having taken so long to come to feeling content with me, at times, I never thought this would come, and now it has, it’s a relief and enormous enjoyment.
I remind myself often to stop and reflect. A bad day is not so bad. Bad days are not so bad. Even when they arrive and park in huge, long travelled miles of bad days. The dawn will arrive at some time. And it will be glorious. As long as you have learnt from that darkness, even if eventually only after many years… you grow as a person, as a learner, of somebody learning to content themselves with the world which does give us tremendous hot sunny high suns, but thrusts us as often into the blackest, murkiest nights.
Success is achievable. Healthy relationships – friends, family and love – are possible and wonderful. Happiness is yours for the taking. These are only some of the many things I did not forsee or know at 12, 15, 18 or even 20. Some people never reach their own individual understandings. But most do. It takes some longer than others. Watching others, it sometimes seems impossibly easy. If I could speak to my 16 year self, I’d tell her to take exactly the same path, to learn from the challenges, the uncertainty, the at times violent and volatile world and people, to see it as a journey- as a discovery in truth, although it’s for sure going to be peppered liberally with ugly ones. To press into her consciousness for only just a fleeting heartbeat how good it feels now. To flood her with needed hope. And reassure her that she will get there … and that it is absolutely all worth it …