It really seems that there really is only one constant in life – change. Most of us go through life not wanting to face this reality, that we are ever changing and ever evolving creatures. Who we are when we are 30 is vastly different from who we are when we were 20, and who we will be when we are 40 will be vastly different from who we are when we are 30. This is an inevitable fact of life. Time is short and a very precious commodity, and that’s why it’s important to not waste any of it doing things we don’t love. We should never accept the life that is, but strive for the life that ought to be. We should always aim for personal growth.
The process of growing up is lifelong. From the time we reach primary school to the time we enter secondary school, we change little by little. We learn from our experience with the world around us and how to navigate it. We normally latch on to our peers as we move together in this frightening world of sociality. As we grow up, and we separate from the family unit more and more by essentially spending most of our waking hours in school, where we try to become like our peers. We tend to copy their actions just to feel safe, all in the name of validation. This is our first taste of the bitter and cruel world, and most of us learn fast, that if we want to survive, we got to play by the rules and toe the line, the social line that is. At this stage, we still don’t know what is best for us, not knowing how to choose what is best for us. Most children in primary school do not naturally form bias, other than the ones that are brought to school with them from home. This is why we end up conforming. Groups are formed, bullies are formed, and the bullied are formed.
Enter secondary school, the true Serengeti of life. This is probably the toughest time for most people, as this is when they start to change. People begin to develop a stronger sense of self, and after all those years of conformity in primary school, people tend to rebel and try to be as individualistic as possible, but those are the lucky ones. The unlucky ones aren’t able to muster the courage to be themselves, and conform to their peers. They listen aptly to the older boys, still wanting approval, still seeking validation, still waiting on being invited to that football game, still waiting to be invited to lunch at the cool table. These are the ones that take a longer time to blossom, if they’re lucky, or peak early if they aren’t.
The real lucky ones are able to break away from conformity, by cultivating their own interest away from the herd. These are the ones that bury themselves in books, in the thirst for knowledge, be it fiction or fantasy, they strive to be different, to be more than the status quo. Most of the time these people have a lack of confidence from being different, but they don’t mind, they evolve that way. They each go through a personal journey of personal growth, from lifestyle to life views. This is where you see schisms of different types of people, those that manage to say no to the tide of conformity and build character, a stronger sense of self. Those that are willing to read for hours on end, all at the expense of being called a nerd. The ones that carry pencils and pens with them and sketch away in their little own dreamy world. The “weird” ones, but these are the ones that will make a difference through their unique view of their world.
Come then the latter years, where people come to self-discovery, to self-knowledge. Most of us try to find ourselves even more at this stage, thinking that we understand the world, that we’ve got it sorted. We sometimes get caught up in life, thinking that we have to act in a certain way to be liked. We do this out of insecurity, out of the fear that we will be judged. We need to realise that everyone is fighting their own battle, that they have issues to be faced themselves.
Sometimes when someone is mean, it’s not always that they’re a mean person. Sometimes it just means that they require more love and understanding. It’s wrong to think that we can know how someone feels, because we can never truly know how someone feels. We can never truly know their story, but we can try to be more understanding. They could be fighting a battle that we take for granted, that comes easy to us. Some of us develop better social aptitudes that we are better able to communicate with others. This however, is not the case for everyone. This is why it is important to treat everyone with suspended judgment, not that it is to show the strength of character of that person, but of ours. We should always remember to be kind and pay it forward.