Staying True to Yourself: Would Your Younger Self Approve of Your Current Self?

Staying True to Yourself

When I was younger, as in pretty much from birth up until about twelve years old, I didn’t worry about growing up. I didn’t feel like I needed to be older than I was or younger than I was. I saw my birthday as an opportunity for a gift, or a dinner with family, or maybe a party. I didn’t see beyond that. But now, as a teenager, it seems like with every year I turn older, I’ve reached this huge landmark that opens me up to new expectations and responsibilities. Worse, time seems to go by much faster now, speeding up the process. (And if you mention this to an adult, they’ll tell you it goes by even faster as you get older)

The thing that concerns a lot of people the most is change in outlook and opinions. It’s supposed to be normal for this to change, simply because we are people, growing up and learning new things. But at times, you might wonder what your past self might think of your present self. Would you be proud, or disappointed?

A small example, but still a relevant one, I remember a day when I was a kid, when I told my parents that I was strongly quite certain that I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever get my ears pierced. After all, it would hurt a lot, and there was no way to reverse the effect if I changed my mind. Even if I let my ears heal and close up, there would still be a permanent scar there. Now I’ve gotten my ears pierced, and I’m very happy with them. I don’t worry about what I previously worried about. But it still bothers me that if I had known, at the time of my announcement, that I, in fact, would get my ears pierced, I would have been very unhappy with myself.

However, there was something I remembered of that totally changed my thoughts about this. At the same age I said I would never get my ears pierced, I also happened to be extremely afraid of getting a flu shot. I dreaded the annual trip to the doctor for it, and I cringed each time I got it, quite sure that it was the worst pain I had ever experienced. (This was really just my mind being dramatic, of course) Getting the flu shot now is practically nothing. I just go to the nurse’s office at school, get the shot, and come back without more of a thought than what a pretty Wonder Woman Band-aid I was given. Getting the shot quickly at school would have sounded like the end of the world to me when I was little. But I feel certain that if my old self knew that my future self didn’t mind flu shots at all, she would have been very pleased and proud of how brave I turned out to be.

So maybe worrying about this kind of thing just doesn’t make sense. After all, wasn’t pain a huge reason why getting my ears pierced sounded like such a bad idea? And that was back when, to me, the flu shot seemed like the world’s end. Still, staying true to myself is something I think about often. And while it is important not to lose sight of who you are, you still have to remind yourself that changing is part of growing up. If our ideas and opinions never changed, we would be clueless, frequently wrong, and we wouldn’t learn anything.

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