“Times change. People change. But no matter what happens in life, no matter how far away you move, I’ve found, there’s always something to remind you of what’s gone and past.”
That’s the opening line of a story I wrote a while ago. I’m not sure how much I agree with it anymore–or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part, hoping that the past really can be dead and gone, put out of our minds forever. It’s not as if there’s anything traumatic in my past, but we all have our personal battles, do we not? If you’ll forgive me for remaining ever-cryptic, that’s as far as I’ll go. In this case, details are superfluous and won’t add anything to what I’m trying to say. I do want to bury the past, or better yet, burn it. I want to be a different person with a different take on life, but I’m just not sure how.
Change can be unsettling. We get used to certain patterns of life, come to expect things to be a particular way, and when that changes, it can be like cold water in the face. It’s jarring, certainly, and rarely welcome–but sometimes it’s necessary refreshment. Falling into stale habits is never good, especially for creative types. Without new experiences and changes, inspiration runs dry.
I’m not very good at expressing myself emotionally, and I never pretend to be. How I feel at this point in my life is difficult for me to describe. I want to hold on to some aspects of the old me, and yet I want a metamorphosis of sorts. I used to always have my nose in a book or be scribbling away on loose notebook paper. I would eat lunch with my teachers so I wouldn’t have to deal with noisy cafeterias or my peers. I scorned television and movies, and the only music I knew about was the kind my parents listened to. I was almost completely devoted to the written word. I feel like it’s a betrayal to say it, but reading and writing just don’t overshadow everything else in my life anymore. I’ve opened up to different media of self-expression and entertainment, and I’ve opened up to people.
Part of me wants that old life back. I’ve lost a lot of good things I used to have–commitment, a long attention span, reservation, being self-possessed–but I’ve also managed to get rid of bad things: closed-mindedness, severe phobia of social interaction, and a good degree of arrogance. I’ve learned that I’m not the most intelligent person in the room and probably never will be. I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who has problems, and sometimes others need help and sympathy a lot more than I do. Although I’m still getting there, I’m more comfortable with who I am than I used to be and try to spend less time navel-gazing. I know more about myself–most prominently, that there’s a lot more I still need to learn.
Change is bittersweet. Good things come and go with the bad; wonderful experiences fade into the past as new frontiers appear on the horizon. Not every change will please us, and sometimes things will seem downright hopeless. Don’t give up. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my entire life experience, it’s that things always look better in the morning.