Do you ever look at old photos of yourself, of when you felt you were in your prime, and think that you are now a completely different person? That is how I feel when I look at myself 4 or 5 years ago. And this brings sadness to my heart because 4 or 5 years ago I was very happy with myself and with my life. No I did not have a boyfriend, and yes I wanted one. But I was happy because I was care-free and giggly and surrounded by friends constantly and knew where I would be in a years time. I miss her. She had stress and I don’t envy some of that stress. She was applying for university and experiencing her first year of living away from her parents and getting loaded down with readings and papers. But she was surrounded by friends and none of those friends had any expectations of her other than to join in the binge drinking and board game nights. The girl I am today is much different.
I will admit that much of my disconnected feeling comes from the fact that I am in that awkward stage of life where I am almost done my final year of school and have absolutely no clue whatsoever where I will be in 6 months time. And I mean that literally. Where will I be living? With my parents? With my boyfriend? I don’t know. I am a teacher candidate which probably means I won’t be having a career anytime soon so all I know is I’ll probably be working at a restaurant or something.
I was a little heavier in those pictures, too. I’ve never been heavy but it’s clear that in the last 4 years my face, arms, stomach, and legs have thinned out due to a mix of developing anxiety and losing the last bit of baby fat/freshman 15. I am happy with how I look now. I think I am pretty and look fit even though I don’t exercise. I have accepted my flaws that used to torment me 4 years ago, such as my nose and my skin. I prefer my face without makeup on it, whereas even 2 years ago I wouldn’t leave my bedroom without foundation on. I am not a materialistic person and don’t care if I wear the same shirt 2 or 3 days in a row. I’d say I am comfortable in my own skin, whereas 2 years ago I was not. It probably helps to have a boyfriend who tells me I am beautiful, but I know it is mostly because I have matured and realize that there are more important things in life than appearance, such as sleeping in.
But when I see myself 4 or 5 years ago, smiling away, usually with a drink in my hand and friends by my side, I feel sad that I no longer experience those experiences that made me smile like that. Yes, I have so much to smile about now. My supportive parents, my sensitive and witty boyfriend, my siblings, my best friend I’ve had since grade 2, my almost being done school, my growing confidence in myself.
I think it’s the not-knowing-where-I’m-heading feeling that’s getting to me. I feel insecure about my future. I don’t know what to expect, but I know it will very different from what I’m used to and I don’t like change. I know I will miss being a student and having deadlines and sitting in class and complaining about it all with my friends. I will miss the stress of being a student as well as the security in knowing who I was and who I will be interacting with everyday.
One of the scarier thoughts I have about my future is losing contact with my friends. That best friend I mentioned from grade 2 is one of the most valuable relationships I have. I am so dependent on her to always be there for me, that the thought of being on a different path than her is terrifying. She will still be a student next year and I won’t be. Something about that does not sit well with me.
Even though I am in that inbetween stage, there is increasingly a feeling of juggling everything in my life. My parents, siblings, boyfriend, friends, school, work, saving for a car, and other things I enjoy like reading, drinking, or watching YouTubers, are all pulling at me and asking for attention. I feel like in trying to balance all of these factors I have disconnected with who I once was. And I am not sure what to do about it. Do I try and find her again? Or is she gone? And if I did find her, would I be lying to myself about who I truly am today? Do I wait to see who I will be in 6 months time? All I know is that I want to be someone who doesn’t struggle to balance everything in my life. I want everyone and everything to receive the attention they deserve, and I want that to come naturally. I want to be care-free with no expectations and to constantly feel content. But do I wait for that to come naturally or do I have to force myself to be like that? And if I did find that happy place, would I recognize it and say “ah, here I am”? I hope so.