Home is Where 18-Year-Old Me is Still Alive and Well

The last time I lived at home with my family for a long period was the summer before I started college.

I spent this summer crying and trying to get over my high school, and overall, just being sad and scared about all the big changes happening in my life.

This was a time in my life when I was questioning everything about myself.

I questioned if I was smart enough to go to a school like UF. I questioned how I would get through my first year of college without my best friends or family. I questioned who I was as a person. 

I never thought I would be somebody that would allow a guy to have so much power over how I felt daily or even how I felt about myself.

That’s why I used my freshmen year as a time to grow and not judge myself based on what other people thought about me.

It took a long time, but I finally did it (kind of).

Even now, I’m not always the self-confident, calm and motivated person I want to be all the time. But that’s OK because life happens, and I don’t always have to act like everything is going great. 

But I have grown a lot from that 18-year-old I once was.

This is why it bothers me so much when I come home, and after a few days I feel myself revert to who I used to be.

I know this sounds dramatic, but in high school everything felt like it was the end of the world. A fight with a friend, applying to college and fighting with my, then, boyfriend. 

I would overthink everything and judge myself so harshly for everything happening around me.

I would take a bad situation and make myself wonder about it and feel even more anxious about it.

While I’m still anxious now, I’ve gotten much better at the way I cope with it and not being as hard on myself.

But when I come home for long periods of time I always feel myself judging myself, and I become nervous and upset about even the smallest things.

Being home now during this strange and difficult time for everybody has made me start to feel this way again.

But with so much going on in the world right now, I refuse to let my negative attitude and way of thinking that controlled my life when I was 18 take over and make a difficult situation even harder.

Here are just a few things that I have done to help me remember who I am during this time and continue to stay grounded. 

Connect with my family again 

Being around my sisters, parents and grandmother again, I’ve gotten the chance to bond with them more and talk about everything and anything during this quarantine.

When I left to go to school my youngest sister was 12 and we were close but not that close, since our age gap and the ages we were so different.

But now talking to my sister I see she has grown into her own amazing person, and talking to her about life and school and her goals has allowed me to stop thinking so much about myself.

My anxiety in high school got the best of me and sometimes made me feel so alone in a house full of people and love.

But taking the time to talk to my family members and connect with them has made me realize they will always be there, no matter how anxious or bad about myself I might feel.

When I’m away at school, I feel like I tend to forget that they are my support system.

In high school, I feel like I took this for granted and now coming back and realizing how important they are to me has helped me feel even more supported and loved.

Take time to myself 

As much as I love and appreciate my family, it is also hard to go from having so much independence and alone time in college to being stuck in a house with my whole family every day.

School is stressful and I’m not used to studying at doing work surrounded by people anymore.

So, as much as I have support and love down here, it is also important to acknowledge that I know when I need to take time for myself. 

When I was younger, I could do nothing alone; I would always ask my friends to go with me to run errands, to go get a coffee, pretty much anything.

I relied too much on people and it ended up making me somebody who thought it was OK to be codependent.

But after going away to school, I learned that it’s alright to be alone and, honestly, kind of great.

Whenever I come home I always slightly revert as I’m always surrounded by people and end up doing everything with them since I don’t see my family or friends from home that often.

But I’ve learned it’s fine to say I need space and time to myself and communicating this is healthy and not a negative thing.

I’ve taken multiple walks and sat and just read for a moment when I’ve felt myself start to feel overwhelmed and it’s honestly helped a lot.

Using new and more mature ways to cope when I start to get upset has made all the difference in how it affects me. 

Think about the person I want to be 

Something that helps me try not to revert to who I was in high school is to think about my future.

I want to have healthy relationships and positive people in my life, and the only way this will happen is if I have a healthy relationship and view of myself.

I don’t ever want to be in a position again where I give somebody so much power over my emotions and self-esteem.

Thinking about who I was and who I want to be allows me to  analyze the way I’m acting and pushes me to change my attitude if I am not happy with it. 

At first, it’s hard to come home and feel myself instantly revert to who I was when I was 18.

It starts small with not doing my dishes and then escalates to me being set off by small things my sisters do.

But being reactionary, analyzing the smallest things and placing importance on things that really aren’t important are things I catch myself doing at home that I thought I grew out of when I moved away to college.

Growth isn’t linear, but it feels strange to come back home and feel as if I’ve taken two steps back.

But I’m learning to be secure in who I am and the growth I’ve made, no matter where I am.