Last night I was listening to my guilty pleasure when it comes to music: Pink. And while listening to her latest album a sentence really struck me. She says: ”And now [I] turned into someone that I swore I would never be”. ¹
It made me realize that to a certain extent, I have indeed turned into someone I had sworn I would never become. Still processing my recent return to the city I grew up in, it made me think. When I was a teenager, I had rather specific expectations of how my life should be and what I didn’t want it to be. Like most teenagers, I didn’t want to become my parents. Not that there’s anything wrong with it (thankfully since we all seem to turn exactly into our parents eventually) but as young people, we tend to want to be the total opposite and reject most of our parent’s values and habits, mostly out of rebellion.
I was a very typical teenager in that sense, while I kept most of my anger inside (exploding at times of course), I was determined I would have a different kind of life. I would have a career, I would work hard to have everything to make me successful. I would have a very different relationship than my parents. When people would wrong me or hurt me, I would simply get rid of them. Not keeping in touch just for long-time sake or for family’s sake. And I would definitely not have any children. I didn’t want anyone else to go through the difficulties in my life and having to live with depression as I did. I had read an article saying that depression could possibly be hereditary and there’s no way I would risk that.
Now if you know me, you’ll notice that I did not end up quite where I had planned! I always wanted to go and explore the world, but I thought I would go for a round-the-world trip, live it fully and then settle down in my adult life. I naively thought I would become an adult when I would be in my 20s. Laughable now but I deeply believed it. Clearly, I hadn’t realized that there might not be such a thing as adulting, but instead, everyone trying to conform to what’s expected, and improvising as they go.
I did try to have a career, but then as soon as I got the opportunity to move to the other end of the country, I literally jumped on the occasion. To my defense, it was supposed to be temporary. Temporary just turned out to be much longer than the original plan!
By then I had gone on a backpacking trip to Europe for a few months, and it ignited something in me. I knew I wanted to go on a real round-the-world trip, but I no longer could see how I would manage to do that while working on building a career.
Eventually, after a few years of following my teenage plan, I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t set off for my big once-in-a-lifetime trip in my 20s, I would most likely not have the courage to do it later on. So I did.
And it changed everything. I changed my perspective on life. I meet inspiring people and saw that I no longer wanted the type of life I initially thought I wanted.
In that respect I did turn into someone I never thought I would. I never thought I would have explored 40+ countries, visited the Antarctic on a sailboat, started jumping off planes for the fun of it, etc.
I did also turn into someone I swore I would never be on certain subjects. I always told myself I didn’t want the kind of relationship my parents had. There was nothing wrong with their relationship per se, but it lacked the passion I dreamed of. Yet I stayed in a long-term relationship that ended up very similar to what I had seen growing up. Supportive, calm and comfortable but a rather passionless relationship.
Parts of my personality are definitely not what I wanted them to be. I’m a lot more forgiving than I thought as I’ve realized that people, including myself, make mistakes and can change. People can do stupid and hurtful stuff and there’s a pretty damn good chance I’ve done exactly the same to someone else.
As they say: only one who hasn’t sinned can throw the first stone. Not that I believe in any of this religious stuff, but this sentence always stayed with me. People will make mistakes. Hopefully, they will learn from them. I’m people, at least most of the time, so I’ll fuck up too. And looking back I can see that I’ve done way more than my fair share of fuck-ups so while I’m a lot more forgiving than teenage me thought was a good amount, I’m glad most people are also pretty damn forgiving!
This song reminded me to check where I’m at, and see if I’m okay with who I am. And if some parts of me are not okay by my current standards, it’s up to me to make the adjustments necessary.
¹ Barbies, a song by Pink on her album called Beautiful Trauma