Entering my final year of University, I can’t measure how much I’ve changed since I started my first. I’m a completely different person than who I was a year ago, and if given an introduction, the person I was three years ago wouldn’t even recognize me. In a short period of dramatic growth, I have exceeded my expectations in making strides towards becoming the woman my younger self always hoped to be, especially in an environment in which I originally predicted not much metamorphosis would occur.
Up until now, the spirit of change has come as a lonely source of excitement amidst a world of boxed in decisions and set futures. As long as I can remember I have known I would attend University – but which one? What friends would I make? A comfortable level of adaptability and expression within a fixed path. But now, as the ambiguous abyss of our entire lives comes into view, the unknown has the potential to bring about more anxiety than excitement.
I can feel the tensions rising around me as friends and peers are beginning to face the question of life after graduation, and what that might entail for them. Some are taking the LSAT and heading to graduate school, others are planning gap years, plenty already have jobs lined up while many, like myself, have absolutely no destination in mind after they pack their bags. However, in a situation that should be riddled with fear, I have been able to remain blindly optimistic. How?
I think I realized it when a friend of mine mentioned to me that, caught in a wave of anxiety brought about by the thought of life after University, she had created a mood board to inspire her young adult life and to give her things to look forward to. On it were pictures of apartments, outfits, and namely Brittany Murphy’s famously lost yet truly aspirational character from Uptown Girls. The idea of a mood board struck me, and suddenly my mind was lost in a mess of all the things I realized I was looking forward to after university. But most importantly, among all this inspiration, I wondered who I would be once I was living in that lovely apartment, in my favorite city, wearing those fabulous clothes. I knew, after so much growth as a person in so many ways, that my development was far from over – and I began to get excited at the idea that in 1 year, or 5 years, or 10 years, I would be an even better version of myself at this moment, all the while loving who I will be in those moments.
The more I grow, the more I realize that maturity isn’t the absence of change, it’s the acceptance of it. Young adulthood is not knowing the person you’ll be in a year and excitement at the thought of meeting them. After 21 years of constant evolution, I’ve finally come to the understanding that, of course, remaining stagnant is crippling, change is inevitable, and that I will constantly be growing and shifting and morphing until the day I leave this earth. After 21 years, as I head out into the world without a plan, the excitement at that very notion now rests at the core of my existence.
Words and Photography by Megan Munroe.
© 2017 Reef Magazine