A few years back I wrote a post about my self identity and the dangers of viewing life through the lens of a single story. I felt adrift then, caught in the limbo between recent post-graduate and an adult finding her footing in the real world. I hadn’t begun searching for a “real” job yet, hadn’t started dating, didn’t even have bills in my own name; but at the same time I was expected to know how to do all of these things instinctively.
I turn twenty-five next week and this May marks the end of the third year since I graduated university. Pretty soon everyone I knew while I was in school will have graduated too and by that point I guess I’ll probably have to stop referring to myself as a “post-grad.” So this is my last year before I have to cross firmly over the line and become a true adult.
And all of this has gotten me to thinking about who I’ve become since I wrote that post. What new markers are there to my identity? I’m not the same person I was when I graduated, or even when I wrote that post. I’ve said that many times over the last three years. So who am I at twenty-five?
I’m still a daughter, but one who doesn’t call her parents daily out of loneliness and anxiety anymore. I’m independent enough not to need them, but always happy to have them in my life.
I’m still a sister, but one who doesn’t argue and fight with her brother anymore. We may not be the closest siblings in the world, but I think we’ve learned to appreciate each other through the geographical distance. We were each too full of dreams and ambition to share the same house, I think.
I’m still a friend, but a better and more thoughtful one than I ever thought I could be. I’m able to put myself in other’s’ shoes now and that helps me to treat people with respect and kindness. It’s helped me to flourish as a friend and deepen my relationships.
I’m still a reader, but one who has opened her mind to new worlds and new genres since she first started the 52 Book Challenge back in 2011. I don’t just read fantasy and YA books anymore; now I’m interested in non-fiction and memoirs as well as challenging myself to read diversely.
I’m still a writer, but I’ve become more of a blogger and personal essay writer than I used to be. My goal is still to write a book one day, but I’m opening myself to the idea that fiction isn’t the only way to capture what it is that I have to say.
I’m still an introvert, but one who now looks to spend time with friends of her own accord, rather than being dragged out of her shell. I’m by no means an extrovert, but I’m beginning to take charge of my own social life, pushing myself to try new things or get outside my comfort zone. Surprisingly, I usually enjoy it. If 18 year old me could see what my weekends look like now, she’d probably be very proud and a little bit shocked.
As I wrote, this inventory revealed to me that while I have changed, I’m still the same person. I’m simply becoming a deeper, stronger version of person I’ve always been. I’ve grown in my skills and interests, changed my focus and expanded my horizons, but underneath the same values and characteristics make me who I am. And I think that’s maybe the strongest kind of change – to stay true to myself, but still grow stronger and braver and more determined in all the best parts of me.
I look forward to seeing what the next quarter century of life brings.