Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking Back Ten Years....

I have spent the past five days revisiting old writings, having recently discovered that my LiveJournal, which was created over ten years ago, is still available for reading!  After reading about a year's worth of journal entries from my sixteenth to seventeenth year, I made the following observations:

10 years ago....

1. I had little to no respect for proper writing conventions.  Okay, this is really not that big of a deal, but it is amusing, and slightly embarrassing. Apparently, the idea that I would one day grow up and become a middle school language arts teacher who might possibly come back and re-read my own journal was not a huge concern of mine at the time.

2. I ranted a LOT and about everything under the sun: church politics, friend drama, Hollywood agendas, my future life, the unfairness of my present life, regrets of my past life, the list goes on. I was open about just about everything.  Granted, the only people reading my journal were my two best friends.  One of them was very familiar with most of the topics and people I would rant about, which provided us both with a way to process and discuss our day-to-day experiences at a time when we both needed an outlet for such things. The other friend, who lived on the other side of the state, was able to offer some badly needed objectivity and insight which I may not have taken from my parents at the time.

3. I processed more as a teenager than I do as an adult.  True, a lot of that was ranting and raving about things beyond my control.  But another part of it was looking back on my day and taking note of moments and interactions which were meaningful to me at the time.  I did not always articulate why they were meaningful, but I almost always recognized them in one way or another.

However, the main thing that struck me is how seventeen-year-old me and twenty-seven year old me are still very much the same person. Certainly, I have learned to be a little more discreet in how I express myself.  Some might argue a little too discreet.  I still have that need to process and untangle my thoughts and emotions through writing.  I still have that desire to be heard and understood by my peers, as well as the hesitancy to voice my thoughts, especially in settings where my opinion is not popular (hence my need for a journal).  I still loathe controversy and do my best to stay far away from topics which will result in fervent disagreement.  I still wonder what people think of me, and whether or not I should voice my thoughts on controversial matters.

What has changed?

To answer this question I needed a little help from those who knew me best, and would provide me with an honest and straightforward answer: my siblings.

According to my sister, I am "less angsty" now than I was as a teenager, which was a huge relief to me. Looking back on my old entries, I noticed a lot of exclamation marks. Absolutely everything was a big deal to me.

According to my youngest brother, I appreciate sibling company more.  I would add that I appreciate all of my family members more.  Seventeen-year-old me believed she was misunderstood by every single member in her family, and therefore closed herself off from siblings and parents.  It was not until I went away to Junior Scholars (a month long summer program for Juniors going into their Senior year of high school to get college credits) that I began to appreciate my family.  Which is a shame. My siblings have a lot of shared memories that I do not have because I kept myself away from them.

According to the brother closest in age to me I "ration my happy emotions more".  This from the brother who is very big into "mind over matter" stuff.  He does have a point however, in that as a teenager I was very often functioning on one end of the spectrum or another.  This is reflected in my journal entries. The world was wonderful and I loved everybody in it, or the world was terrible and I was the worst person of all.  In between moments were few and far between.  While there are times when I still feel this way, I am happy to know I am maturing enough to the point where I now take things in stride and cut others and myself a little more grace.

So what about you? How have you changed in the past ten years? What do you hope will be different about you ten years from now? Leave a comment below. Happy New Year!