Author: Arshina Remtulla
Growing up I always heard of people finding themselves. There are countless stories of people going on soul-searching adventures and coming back a new person. People told me I could be anything I wanted as long as I worked hard, focused on my goals, and then I would find my purpose.
Now that I’m older, I’ve realized there’s nothing for me to find. That’s a toxic mindset the world ingrains in young people, that they’re expected to figure out exactly who they are and their life’s purpose as teenagers. This mindset leads us to believe our lives are set in stone once we turn 18 and if we decide to change the path we’re sent on, we’re met with looks of disappointment and told we’ve lost ourselves.
Humans are dynamic, complicated, imaginative beings, and it’s unrealistic to think we’ll never change. You can be 100% certain about yourself and your life one day, but have a completely new set of goals and desires the next. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost yourself. It means you’ve outgrown the environment you’re comfortable in, and life is pushing you to rediscover yourself.
Our core never really changes. I’ve always been a happy, energetic, and loving person. I’m sensitive and anxious and all of those traits have been constants in my life. That doesn’t mean I haven’t outgrown my wants, and my desires have changed. Amongst my friends I’m known for being an indecisive person; I can’t stick to one career path, I eat one food for three months and get sick of it, then move on to the next, and my hair never stays the same longer than six months.
I’m not a different person when I go through those changes. I’m just rediscovering the girl I’ve always been. I’m learning new things about myself and maybe it gets confusing to the people around me, but I’m not living for them, I’m living for me.
One day I like mashed potatoes and the next I’m completely obsessed with french fries. I can decide if I prefer my hair short then months later I’m back in the chair getting extensions. My crush of six months may no longer fuel my emotional needs and I can let them go.
Life doesn’t stop when you turn 18, it’s only the beginning, and that’s something I’ve had to learn. Your dreams and goals as a teenager do not have to stay the same once you’ve grown up. We all go through different experiences that shape us and cause us to look at things differently. There’s no map to the true you, there’s no end destination.
If you stayed the same your entire life there would be no stories to tell, no new people to meet, and no new experiences to make. It may seem scary venturing out of your comfort zone and admitting the things that once made you happy no longer do, but it doesn’t mean you’re stuck. We have to muster the courage to try new things and explore parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed.
It’s beautiful how complex we all are. I’m content knowing that I’ll never know who I am. I’m a mix of all the people, experiences, and emotions that have come through my life, and my life isn’t over yet.