Reflecting on 19 Years (& Tips on Dealing with Change)

As my birthday is fastly approaching, I’m beginning to reflect on almost two decades full of memories and experiences that have got me to where I am today. There were the good times and the bad, the funny and the upsetting. There were the times when I was so embarrassed I didn’t think I could live another day. The times I could live over and over if I had the chance. Overall, I’ve had a pretty wholesome life so far, but I can’t help but marvel at how much I’ve changed.


Thinking back to the first ten or so years of my life, I wish I still had the same confidence and carefree attitude that I possessed as a four-foot-tall tomboy. The bangs were cringy, but the ways I spent my summer nights and the goofy foods I ate and the toys and people I were invested in were all so simple. It’s difficult to recall vivid memories from my childhood, but I do remember a general feeling of happiness that I can only attribute to the people I was surrounded by.


Moving onto the pre-teen and teen years, it’s hard to look back and explain some of the utterly unintelligent decisions I’ve made on a whim. It is also hard to come to terms with the insecurities and drama attached to my life during this huge stage of growth. I just want to shake my 13-year-old self and tell her that nothing is as serious as it seems. Especially not the grade on the algebra test or that dumb guy I’d never see again anyway.


In more recent years, I’ve grown into a woman. Not just because of physical milestones, but mental ones as well. Because I’ve gained a better sense of myself as an individual, a creator, a daughter, a friend, and a sister. I think that in these past couple of years I’ve grown closer to the most important people in my life and met people who have unexpectedly changed my life even after knowing them for a short amount of time. These people and the memories I’ve shared with them give me so much hope for the future, for the next 19 years. These are the people I surround myself with.


As I reflect on the past 19 years, it’s like looking at one big scatterplot of data that doesn’t make much sense. There were so many phases in my life. These phases included different people and various obsessions. I feel like I had multiple identities leading up to this point. And that’s okay. I used to be so afraid of change because I valued consistency and judged others for following the latest trends. This is something I regret now because change should be welcomed. Sure, traditions bring a sense of nostalgia, but change is really what makes the world go round.


My tips for dealing with change are easy: Don’t beat yourself up for getting bored with old hobbies and finding new ones. Don’t stress about staying consistent. Don’t dwell on the past. Be whoever you want to be in the moment (you’ll laugh about it later). Roll with whatever comes your way (you’re too young to worry about small things). Be open to seeing things differently with age. And over everything: Phases come and go, but good people are forever. Surround yourself with people and things that make you genuinely happy. It might’ve taken me a while to figure it out, but I think that’s the secret of life.