Sujata is an architect by profession and has a passion for writing. She shares her life experiences through writing, hoping to be of help.
10 years. One full decade. Indeed, it is a very long time. And growth is inevitable in such a long duration of time.
From being a teenager to being a young adult, the journey has seen quite a bit of life and has gone through quite a bit of experiences. And it is obvious that I am not the same person I used to be 10 years back anymore.
My dad used to have a transferable job, so I have shifted 5 schools as a kid and have attended one college and one university as a part of my graduation and postgraduation studies. So, I have also met a lot of people in all these years of life. And all of them know a different version of me as I have met them in different stages of life’s journey.
Now, when I look back and try to figure out how and what life has been for me and analyze my last 10 years, I can visualize the growth and changes I have gone through. Outgrowing my older self has been the only constant throughout.
There have been many ways that I have seen myself outgrow my older self over these years and here are 10 most drastic changes I have seen that I have listed below.
1. Communication Skills
As a young kid and an adult, I used to be an extremely shy person and had very bad communication skills. I would not communicate my wants and needs to anyone and would assume they would know on their own. Or I would not speak my mind thinking they might just start disliking me if I spoke up. However, over the years, my communication skills have improved to a great extent. I have become very open about conveying and discussing what I want and do not shy away from putting out my points of view in the open. I no longer have the fear of being disliked for speaking my mind. If being open about what I thought made me distant from anyone, then probably they are not “my” people in the first place.
2. Overthinking Pattern
I have always been an avid overthinker. I used to excessively overthink and create situations in my head that would probably never happen but would kill my self from inside just imagining them. I still am an overthinker, but at least now I realize when I am getting into the overthinking pattern. And, as and when, I know I have crossed my limit, I call my closest of friend and talk it out. Talking it out has been of great help in controlling my overthinking nature. And I have also learnt to control my mind in that context.
3. Self-confidence Issues
Every teenager probably goes through this – the phase of low confidence and self-doubt. Same was with me. I had a lot of doubt regarding my life decisions. I was not sure if my career decisions have been right. But now that I have learnt to accept myself the way I am and have an increased understanding of how I picture my life to be, the amount of self-doubt has decreased to a great degree. I am more confident about my decisions and am absolutely sure about the kind of life I am leading now.
It used to be a common issue with me. Once I get stuck with an idea, I would be too rigid to change my opinion or try a different way ahead. I would always want to take that one path that I have thought about and would be too egoistic to accept that there might be another way of going about too. But now, with growing up I have become open about trying out new things and to new ideas. I have become more of a “go with the flow” kind of a personality. My goals and targets still remain the same, but today I am more welcoming of new point of views and ideas. Realization that everything always do not go according to the way we plan has brought in immense peace to life and has made it easier to take life as it comes.
5. Everything “Okay” Attitude
“Yes mam”, “okay sir”, “yes you are correct”, “alright, we will do as you say”, used to be my way of talking no matter how big the argument was! I would always be fearful of losing out people I am close to if I disagreed with them. But now, I respectfully disagree without making a judgement on them. I understand that everyone has a different back story and have had a different life, and therefore them having a different opinion is unavoidable. What matters is as long as we respect each other’s opinions and do not create a fuss about it, it should be fine to healthily disagree. And I fearlessly put my opinion forward, and in case someone does get offended on an honest and genuine opinion, I think there is nothing much that can be done.
6. Others’ Opinions
“What will people say” “Will this be accepted by the society” “Will people close to me or anyone in general be okay with I am doing, or I am about to say”
I used to get bogged down by these thoughts on my life and its decisions. But I never realized the fact that people will always have an opinion, no matter what we do!
Only very recently, the realization came that life can be very unpredictable. I realized that life is too short to be thinking of what others think and their opinion of us. And majority of the times, we do not stay in the same place for a very long time with the same people. We move and we move on. So, for as long as we are in a place, how about we spread as much smiles as we can, be kind and find happiness wherever we are! What others think do not matter. For as long as we can find happiness in our journey and spread happiness to the ones who are a part of our journey, everything is alright. For how long or for short time someone is a part is not important, but what is important is how well the journey is lived.
7. Self-care Matters
It could have been because it is very trendy to say that we are busy all the time. We love saying that we are overworked every day, and we wear it as a badge of honor to have overworked ourselves. Taking care of ourselves just becomes an afterthought. And that has been the exact case with me. I used to feel really proud to have worked the entire night without any sleep for straight 2 nights and I would be too excited to share that. And hogging on junk food anytime of the day was a ritual. But, now 10 years later the scenario is different. I am extremely conscious about taking care of myself. Whether it comes to pampering myself once every month or taking care of what I eat, I am fully aware. I am a regular at the gym and have also become passionate about fitness in general. In addition to that, I take good care of my routine and make sure I get proper sleep every single day without fail. Today selfcare is one of the most important aspect of my life.
Being friendly has been my nature since childhood. Making friends with everyone I meet and being available for them have been a part of my personality forever. But that has changed now. I still have a very friendly and welcoming personality in general with everyone I meet. But it is only with the people I click with that I call to be my friends. I no longer force friendships or relations to happen. If it works out, it is fine. And if it does not, even then it is alright. If the bond is not built naturally, I am fine not being friends at all and being just acquaintances. I, no longer, am stressed about being liked and accepted by others.
9. Being Complaint Box
Anything small goes out of place, or any issue crops up, and I become the biggest complaint box ever. I would just be too fussy and keep complaining about how things could go wrong. But now that I have grown up, I have been able to connect my life dots. When I look back now, I know whatever has happened has happened in the most perfect way it could be. And any other way would not have been right. I have come to terms with the fact that maybe if things would have turned out the way I wanted it to be, it might as well have been wrong. Everything is in perfect sync with how my life is supposed to be and I no longer complain about things. If there is anything where I do not understand how the dots are connecting, I just patiently wait for the chapter to unfold and for me to understand what is about to come off. No more complaining and no more being fussy. Just being patient and grateful about what is materializing and how life is taking its shape.
10. Running away vs Staying Put
I had been an expert at running away since forever. One bad situation, one bad vibe and I would be the first one to run out of it. Once a college friend of mine said,
“How much do you plan to run away? You will always meet people you do not click with, and you will always face some bad situations and have bad days. Are you always going to run away? What makes you think you will not have these situations again?”,
when I asked him to not react back and fight back and keep quite. I never understood what he was trying to say. Because I assumed once we graduate from college and go to different cities and places to work, things will be different, and we will always have good days. But that is not the case. People and their emotions are just the same everywhere and running away from every situation and place will leave me with no place to go anymore.
And that is when I decided no more running away! “Staying put” has become the new motto in my life. I might have a bad day or be emotionally down, but the solution to that is no longer running away. The solution is to take time off but to get back up and face the situation. No more turning my back to things that are out of hand at the moment.
Because life is what is exactly now. Not yesterday and not tomorrow! What is now, is what is our life! I have understood that running away from a situation or from a place that hurts us, does not in any way guarantee that we will not face such a situation again. It does not guarantee that the next place we run to will have no problems. There will always be problems. And so, I have decided to “stay put”. Stay where I am and face whatever it is. At least, I know if a similar situation crops up again, I will have a readymade solution. But “staying put” is essential. To continue to do our work where we are and face the life “today” instead of running away.
I put up this list hoping that anyone going through these changes do not get tensed about losing their original identity because it is just a part of life and growing up. And for anyone who has seen their loved ones change in any of these ways or in any other way, understand that change is certain. It is going to happen. We just need to understand why and what our loved ones are going through and be supportive about it.