I was recently talking to a friend about how after moving away to another country, and living by myself, helped me solidify the person that I am.
What happens is, when we grow up, people tend to tell us who we are based on certain reactions, opinions, tastes that we’ve had through that period of time. But most people forget that we keep getting new experiences, new inputs of situations, and we are exposed to different people and places. We are constantly being shaped by those things, and evolving new characteristcs to our personality. However, those who always knew us -and who sometimes haven’t changed as much- react negatively to our changes, and say that this isn’t who we are. But who are we, really? Are we supposed to be only one thing during our entire lives?
After reading the novel Paper Towns, by John Green, I was struck by something discussed in the story, the fact that “people are mirrors instead of windows”. My understanding of the idea is that people reflect what others want to see in them, instead of being windows where we can see through them. We reflect what others want from us for so long that when we do become windows, those around us will believe we are not acting like ourselves, even though we couldn’t be truer to who we are.
If any of you has ever had the opportunity of going away from your hometown, family, or old friends, even for just a little while, you probably will understand that when we don’t have people’s expectations, we can shape ourselves to be who we want to be, or to show who, in fact, we really are.
Coming of age usually relates to leaving adolescence and stepping into the adult world. But maybe we are always coming of age. We change and leave things behind all the time. Change is scary, but it can also be exciting. You never know what new things will come into your life because of a new decision you have made.
So be who you are, keep changing, because once we stop changing that’s when we stop living.