New age of independence

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Who you are has always remained the same, deep down. As you grow up, the things you once loved as a child, fade into the distance or become squashed by what you think you should be doing and pushed aside.

Throughout childhood, we are so free and uninhibited, blissfully naïve to the approaching onslaught of adolescence, which arrives in a flurry of self-consciousness and insecurity. How can I fit in with the others, we ask; what is the key piece to finally belonging in this place, with these people? The missing piece never appears, but remains just a fingertip out of reach. The more you strain to get it, the more undone you become, unraveling as surely as you desperately wanted that final piece of belonging. You hung around with people because you thought they were the people you were supposed to be with, when in reality they reflected none of your values at all. It has fascinated me to observe how much I have reclaimed the person I was growing up, and to remember the values I held and the things that interested me. I feel as if I have been reborn and the façade that I wore when I became a teenager has been stripped away.

An evolution occurs as one begins to realize the essence of whom they are, and the fact that they have a choice in what to do with their lives. It’s no longer up to Mom and Dad, sneering classmates, or well-intentioned friends. Deciding what to be and what to do with your life is entirely in your hands.

I never really thought about the notion of happiness in life, or what it means to be comfortable with whom you are. I just thought that living meant being the same as everyone else because it is what we, as a society, are programmed to do. We are encouraged to conform and fit in for the sake of making others comfortable because to stand out and go against the norm, has potential to cause a disturbance and make people rethink their opinions. Naturally, there has never been a conformist that has changed the face of the world. It is always the people who rise up and go against what they have been told; those are the ones who will be remembered.

 

Email: mkiyota@radford.edu


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