I have this huge fear that I have already reached my fullest potential – aka “peaked.” Throughout my life (up until college), I was always surrounded by a lot of people and always having a good time. But in all honesty, I am not at all proud of the person I was back then. I was unapologetic and judgmental and often harsh.
I loved my experiences in elementary school and middle school and high school but I didn’t love who I was. I never ever intended to hurt anyone but maybe I was too caught up in my own insecurities to realize how much kinder I could have been. I worry that these were my best years but not my best self.
It is no secret that I was not a huge fan of my college experience. Because college was not at all for me how I pictured it in my head, I spent a lot of my college years reflecting on who I am and who I want to be. I selfishly thought about myself and only myself in order to be a better person on this earth. I learned to surround myself with as much positivity as possible. I learned how much easier it is to be in a good mood than in a bad mood. I learned what I truly cherish in a friend. I learned how to find beauty in a thunderstorm and how to react when lightning strikes. I learned to be freer, less critical, and more understanding of people’s feelings. After many hours of observations and realizations, I am really proud of the more observant, more selfless, more mindful person I am today.
Everyone talks about how your 20s are supposed to be the best years of your life. So far, for me, they haven’t been and I’m so afraid that my best years were wasted on the worst version of myself. I’m afraid that even though I am so much happier with the person I am today, I won’t be given the opportunity to express that. I worry that because my college experience put me in such a funk that all my best years ended in 2013.
As of today, I am more open-minded, less judgmental, more self aware, and much kinder and I really hope the world gets to see that. Yes, I am still as honest as I’ve ever been but the phrase “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” has never been truer. I try not to give my opinion unless I’m asked for it because truth be told (haha), no one gives a crap about others’ unsolicited opinions. Not that my mindset was ever to hurt, but it definitely has shifted more to help.
Although they were unconventional, I am grateful for my college years because they really allowed me to grow as a person (cliche, I know). Maybe I wasn’t thriving socially in ways that I had been used to, but maybe it was just the reality check I needed. Maybe everything happens for a reason.
I just really hope I continue to have opportunities to flourish and embrace my newly discovered insight. Since I’m not exactly at a place in my life that I ever thought I’d be in, I’m just afraid it’s all downhill from here and that all my progress and growth will be wasted. I don’t want my best years to be over. I really hope my best is yet to come.