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Picture of myself as a child beside picture of myself at graduation
Shobiya Sivanathan

Becoming Who My Younger Self Wanted Me To Be

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If I asked my younger self what my life would look like at 18, I would have definitely said that I moved out for university, had amazing grades, lots of friends, my dream body and a super-hot boyfriend. Anyone who knows me now knows that none of these things are true. Although I was a really ambitious child, I did set the bar high for myself. But, to be fair, a global pandemic was definitely not a situation I thought I’d face. I guess I just thought being 18 meant being an adult who had their life together. 

High school was one of the most stressful and interesting experiences of my life. I went through a lot of family problems, and school was put on the backburner. So, by the time I applied to university, I genuinely had no idea what to study and had done zero research about any programs and schools. 

I ended up choosing a program I had no real interest in. It somewhat pleased my parents and kind of aligned with what I wanted to do in the future. 

Now, at 18 and almost one semester into university, having never attended a lecture in person or even been on campus, I am proud to say I have learned absolutely nothing. University feels the same as high school, and I can’t even properly decide whether I hate it or not. My grades are simply mediocre, no matter how much time, effort, and energy I put into my work. And my amazing, huge friend group is non-existent. I don’t even know a single person in my program.

But as much as this one aspect of my life has been anticlimactic, I have been trying to do things one step at a time. During quarantine, I tried to take care of my health and put myself first for the first time in my life. I’ve been journaling every day for almost a year now, even if it’s just one sentence of what I did during the day, my goals, monthly recaps or new recipes I’ve tried. It has helped me remember all the different phases I’ve had these past few years. 

I also called my doctor all by myself multiple times. 

During the start of the first lockdown, I felt very sluggish, lazy and super dizzy. I talked to my doctor about everything I was feeling, and after many blood tests, they discovered I had a lack of nutrition in my diet. I started to eat full meals instead of snacking the whole day and began drinking two litres of water instead of a couple of sips here and there. I became more aware of what foods made me feel good and what slowed me down. I started to cook more often, tried different cuisines and restaurants, and tried to incorporate more meat and produce into what I eat. 

I put more effort and thought into what I consume each day and kept myself accountable for how much water I drank.

I got my first job and gained more freedom.

I decided to go big for my first job and chose to work at an amusement park as a ride operator. I also discovered the effects of caffeine a month into the job, due to the long and laborious days working in the heat. I understood how to communicate better, how to work with kids and adults (who act like kids), and have truly understood the meaning of hard work. My first paycheck was barely anything, but it felt like I finally worked for something in my life. This money was truly mine, not my parents’, not a birthday gift––mine. I gained more freedom going to and from downtown every day (something I’ve never done alone before) and it felt great not having to ask my parents for money. I wanted to buy myself something meaningful with my first paycheck; something that I would remember. 

So, I went and got my cartilage pierced (without asking my parents).  

I finally felt like I was living my rebellious, fun, teenage life the summer before university.

My super-hot boyfriend has yet to make an appearance in my life. I’ve never been in a relationship before; I’ve always seen everyone around me getting the attention I’d long desired. I felt like having a boyfriend would solve all my problems, and having someone who would listen to me and help me come up with solutions to all the issues I was facing was something I wanted. 

I soon realized that that’s not what a boyfriend does; that’s what a therapist does. 

I realized the reason I wanted a boyfriend was because I was lonely and needed advice, not because I was ready for a relationship. I wanted reassurance from a new person. Once I came to this conclusion, I felt like I wasn’t missing out on anything. I started to be more honest and open with myself and allowed my feelings to be valid, rather than think I was overreacting. 

I started to become a lot nicer to myself.

I definitely am not what my younger self expected me to be at 18, but I am what I now expect of myself at 18. I am not as cool or as exciting of a person as I wanted to be, but I am more content and proud of the effort I put into bettering my health, mentality and mindset. Young me would be excited that I’m still here trying my best. And that, for me, is more than enough.

Shobiya is a first-year Commerce student at Ryerson University, minoring in English. She is a huge Harry Potter, and Studio Ghibli fan, and also enjoys spending time outdoors. She hopes to entertain, and connect with others using her articles.
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