One of my current life goals is to always be growing- to be growth-oriented. Admittedly, this goal is vague and difficult to quantify... how do I know if I am growing and how can I measure it? I came up with this goal and a few others with the help of my therapist. The traditional sense of goals (lose ten pounds by Dec. 1st or make $500 extra dollars a month or own a home by 2018) kinda feels un-fun for me, but I also recognize that having specifics really help. I started thinking about what personal growth means to me and it's brought me to this place of asking myself how have I grown in the last 15 years. How is 34 year old me better/improved than 20 year old me? Here's how:
My 20 year old self tried very hard to be out late at the parties because she felt if she wasn't she'd be missing out. My 34 year old self likes to be in bed at a normal hour, seeing it as part of my overall well being.
My 20 year old self was insecure and worked really hard to hide those insecurities. My 34 year old self likes to talk about my insecurities, finds it very therapeutic actually.
My 20 year old self did Billy Banks Tae Bo for exercise, but never asked herself if she actually liked it. My 34 year old self has made a conscious choice to exercise in the spirit of fun.
My 20 year old self often went along with the crowd. Fortunately she was not following a bad one, but still, she was a follower. My 34 year old self is working on speaking up, gaining confidence in my voice.
My 20 year old self thought it was important to have lots of friends, as many as possible. My 34 year old self likes a few really good quality friends.
My 20 year old self never heard of self-care (maybe cause that phrase didn't exist back then). My 34 year old self lives by it.
My 20 year old self was more into drama and gossip. My 34 year old self considers it a waste of time.
My 20 year old self had a lot of junk. My 34 year old self makes purchases with Marie Kondo in mind.
My 20 year old self was speaking in fantasy when she said she would one day live in New York City. My 34 year old self lives in the reality of that statement (also shout out to my 29 year old self who actually packed up the bags and made the move).
My 20 year old self was way more insecure and uncertain. I look back at some of my behaviors and cringe. But I also loved that girl and she paved the way for certain things. She made good friends, some of whom are still around now. She decided to major in English, a decision that at the time seemed mostly just convenient, but as I sit here and write out words, makes a lot of sense. She was responsible... going to most classes, never being too reckless at parties, and finding the right mix of people who would have fun, but not get into dangerous situations. She had a good head on her shoulders. I honor my 20 year old self and I see that all the changes between her and me now are quantifiable when it comes to my goal of personal growth. It makes me actually stop and wonder what I'll say about me now, at 34, when I'm 44. My 44 self will be able to measure the success of my personal growth goal. I'm living to make my 44 year old self proud.