Sometimes it feels as if I’ve changed in an infinite number of directions. Every change comes as a result of some unsatisfactory characteristic of my former self. The result, hopefully a series of what I consider improvements, becomes the opposite of traits I once possessed.
Confidence is an example. It’s only now, after more than eight years of conscious work, that I’ve gained some form of confidence, of self-respect. And I appreciate it now, not only in myself but in other people as well. It was my own diffidence that drove me to become an assertive person. This isn’t to say that it’s something I’ve stopped working on. I’m not quite satisfied yet, because I’m still learning to prevent overconfidence, but other than that I think I’ve come quite far.
The same goes for quite a few other things. Having no friends has made me a better one. Being alone has made me a patient lover. Being shy has made me more outgoing. Having gone through emotional ups and downs has made me more stable.
Being weak has made me stronger.
When people ask me what my favourite novel is, I tell them, “A Hero of Our Time”, and that’s been true for more than eight years now. It’s a prime example of Russian Romantic Literature, and I can appreciate that. It’s brilliant, not only in it’s lyrical style but also for the complexity of the mindset captured by the protagonist, which makes it such a pleasure to read through. It’s intelligent, it’s interesting, it’s creative, yet none of these things make it my favourite. It’s not even the book I’ve enjoyed reading the most.
It’s simply been the most influential.
Lermontov’s novel once offered me guidance (albeit blindly) when I needed it the most. His words have shaped me more than anything else I can think of, even though I’ve cast off most of my former self related to this. I still see his work as being an integral part of my development, in making me who I am at every changing moment, and that is why I hold so much importance in it.
All of it was a matter of timing. Otherwise, I’d probably think that it was just another boring book I was forced to read in grade 10 English.
The same goes with my relationships, something I would never have thought was related to timing. It’s funny to think that my most significant relationship was also my shortest by far, with a person who is most likely to think nothing of it at all. And everything that made it important to me was a combination of a very specific mindset I had at the time and the fact that this person was such a change from my previous girlfriend.
The same goes with my favourite movie and my favourite band. I’ve become a person who holds more significance in the things that change me than the things that please me.
And change is a product of time.
Found a great stark red dress shirt at Banana Republic yesterday that I wanted to purchase right then and there, but unfortunately I don’t have any money anymore. I’m flat out broke, going into debt for the first time in my life, unless I decide to take up a temporary job in January instead of going back to school. The first thing I’m going to buy when I get a job is new clothes. Running across that shirt gave me a great idea though; I’m going to try introducing more reds into my wardrobe. I currently only have a maroon golf shirt, and most of my clothes don’t seem to match my current moods/outlook. The previous year has been very neutral khaki and navy blue, while the year before that was mostly blacks and greys.
The only real downside to constant mental change is that it seems like I’m outgrowing my wardrobe every year.
When I went home for Christmas three years ago, I was a very confused person. I had no idea what I was looking for, what I was doing. When I came back, I felt as if I had gone through some sort of mid-life crisis. I still didn’t know what I wanted, but for some reason I wasn’t confused anymore. Did I end up resolving anything? To this day I don’t know.
What I do know, however, is that I haven’t stopped changing. Even if I did come to some conclusion back then, it would have no relevance today. So many things are changing, not the world around me, but me myself.
I see this as a good thing. It lets me know that I’m still learning, that I’m still living to the highest degree. I have difficulty “defining” myself, difficulty understanding my own (long term) actions sometimes. As I’ve known since high school, it usually takes me at least half a year to understand the choices I make.
Sometimes it feels like a constant mid-life crisis when I keep questioning the decisions I make and the relationships I have with others. I question things not with doubt, but with curiosity.
And this has filled my life with uncertainty.
It always interests me to learn how some people are changed so suddenly in their lives. An incident, whether it’s retirement, graduation, death, or anything of such a magnitude, cause some to have new revelations or epiphanies. The fact that it takes something as drastic as these situations to affect some people seems seems a little odd to me.
Do these people not think at all in their daily lives? Do they go through one day to the next without looking at the big picture, without seeing some sort of perspective?
I think I’m generally unaffected by such extreme events because of the fact that I try to find meaning in almost everything I experience (risking pretension). It ends up being that something like the loss of a favorite shirt can affect me as much as failing an entire university course. I feel as if I learn enough about myself from both events. As a result of this, I sometimes change on a day to day basis, although it’s generally on a miniscule level and takes a while before it all builds up into anything noticeable.
Of course, this also means that very little ends up surprising me. I’m rarely shocked by anything, and often feel like my emotions have been leveled off, perhaps numb or simply accustomed to change. I don’t get drastically affected anymore, and in turn, can think and act clearly according to my set of logic. The only thing that ends up overcoming my cerebrality is hate.