The Person You Used To Be Is Gone and It's Time to Stop Grieving Them.
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Everyone's had their glory days.
You weighed less. You accomplished more. You might have been a bit more popular, more social, busier. You seemed to be able to handle everything that life threw your way and could certainly balance a larger workload. As a matter of fact, the person you were a few years ago just seems more capable for some reason. Life seemed easier....different.
So what happened to that person? What changed?
I struggle often with the idea that I was somehow "better" a few years ago. Revisiting old pictures often makes me somewhat sad or overly nostalgic. I try to do a lot of the same things I used to do in the past and for some reason, everything feels more difficult or almost impossible to handle. I'm exhausted. I don't have enough time. I don't have the same passion or energy for the same things. When I'm faced with these challenges I often ask myself, "well how the hell did I do this in 2016?" or say "I did this just fine in 2017, why can't I do it now?"
The truth that I'm realizing is that I am actively mourning a person who no longer exists and begging the universe for that person (and their circumstances) to magically reappear.
I can't possibly be the woman I was in 2016.
Sure she weighed 50-60 pounds less, was a pageant queen, had a part-time job, was a member of a sorority and band program, in a relationship and still managed to have her hair and make-up done every day before class. Do you know what else she was? Twenty-four and not responsible for any major bills. That part-time job? Was IN the office of the band program I was a member of (where the sorority was also housed.) Those classes I was always super dressed up for? They started at 9:00 AM.
I'm three years removed from who that girl was, working a job that requires 40 hours a week but can sometimes extend to more depending on what's happening. I'm responsible for multiple projects and tasks. I have a two-bedroom apartment to maintain and help pay for. There's no more cafeteria providing 2-3 meals a day because that all happens in my kitchen. So while I'd like to take part in the same hobbies, gym routine, and everything else I did in undergrad: I'm not in undergrad anymore.
It's not impossible to continue doing the things we loved doing before, but we do ourselves an injustice by believing that we have to approach those things the exact same way. Our living situations, social circles, schedules and income may have changed. Who WE are mentally, physically, and emotionally has likely changed as well. So why are we so desperately seeking to be carbon copies of past versions of ourselves?
It's time we began looking at our past selves in the same way we look at the passing on of a loved one. It's okay to mourn and grieve. It's okay to wish things were the same, but it's also healthy to accept that this person no longer exists and won't be coming back. It's okay to begin readjusting and taking new routes to determine how to move on. It might be better even, to look at the past versions of ourselves and the things we used to do and consider what that all may have actually been for. Was the goal to become better? To work less? To work smarter?
Maybe you just don't like that hobby or feel as passionate about it anymore. Maybe you no longer wear makeup every day because you've realized you get more rest in the morning and your skin is healthier! Perhaps you've gained some weight because your schedule just doesn't allow for the workout routine you had before or you finally detached yourself from an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. It's time to accept what is and reapproach what needs to be.
The person you used to be might be gone for good, but the person you are becoming has infinite possibilities.