As life naturally takes its course, the innocence, freedoms, experiences and knowledge of getting older not only change every year and at every age, but they change us as well. Puberty, sex and relationships, friendships, ideas and death are all components of life that have the greatest effects on who we become. They have the ability to either break you or make you. Accepting and embracing change is one of the greatest challenges, and rewards, that makes the process of life so remarkable. But how to do it correctly to get the full benefits is the question.
Before I reached the age of being legally defined as an adult, I lived in four different places, over twenty homes and attended multiple schools. At the time all this change occurred, I didn’t understand why I had all this uncertainty and why this change was happening to me. Starting a new school is extremely scary and stressful, especially in middle and high school when friendships should be solidified and comfort is found somewhere within the stability of being in the same place at such a vulnerable age.
At times, I felt defeated, hopeless and so insecure that I didn’t want to go on. But I did, and I made it through, and now as an adult, I’ve realized that it was all of that change during those younger years that greatly helped prepare me for the real world. For my wanderlust and love for travel and culture, I give credit to moving so much as a kid. The amount of friendships I had to leave and remake and the insecurity I had to deal with being the new kid too many times forced me into working on and building my confidence in ways that most people don’t get until after high school. Traveling to other countries comes to me with ease and excitement. I can never get enough of new faces, smells and encounters. I feel strong and rooted in who I am as a person and don’t care what people think because I knew at such a young age that it doesn’t matter who so and so thinks or said about you, because the world is so much bigger than that one person. Remember, like-minded people exist across the globe just waiting to be a friend to you.
Relationships are another element of life that constantly changes. Though it does happen, and props to those who found their true loves so young, could you imagine being with your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Not me, personally, because I am no longer the same person I was sixteen plus years ago, and I’m sure neither is he. But break-ups suck and having your heart broken hurts like hell, and at the time of that change, it’s hard to understand it or want to accept it all. But, as most of us have learned, the heart heals itself over time and we become stronger, wiser people because of it. Break-ups help prepare us for the next relationship and instill in us our morals and needs/wants in a significant other. There are those times when the break-up isn’t wanted on either side, but the fact is that, as humans, we are constantly changing and our goals, desires and needs are a part of that, which can lead to the growing apart in relationships. These are the hardest and most heartbreaking breakups, in my opinion, because when you still truly love someone but your ideas or your desires change, the disservice of staying together far exceeds the relief and love for yourself that moving on will provide.
Death is one change that never gets easier and, the older you get, the more it lingers. I was unfortunately dealt the cards of experiencing the death of two of my best friends before I was twenty-five. One was to suicide and one was to drug use, but neither came easily accepted. It took a lot of tears, questioning and years to fully heal and to be able to now be grateful for the memories and times we had together. But, more importantly, I learned the importance of appreciating the moment and respecting the impermanence of life. And now, as a mother, having to explain this part of life to my daughter and have conversations about death and where we go when we die has changed me, my perspective and approach to death in ways words cannot describe.
Change creates sensitivity, manifests fear, ignites excitement, allows for knowledge, awe, demands respect, and, through it all, makes us into who we are meant to be. As one wise being once said – the only constant, is change.
Collegian writer Ashley Haberman can be reached at email@example.com. Leave a comment!!