When I was 8, I thought I’d have myself all figured out by age 9.
Obviously that didn’t happen, and so I pushed the bar to the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that. When I was 16, I looked at older girls in college and thought I’d probably have most of my insecurities sorted out by the time I hit 18. But when my 18th birthday rolled in, I was full of insecurities and that image of being a self-assured, strong and brilliant young lady was shattered.
This went on every year. My constant dissatisfaction with my personal growth led me to conjure an idea of myself for the following year and the years after that. It offered me a reason to push forward and believe that things could get better, that I could continue to grow into a better version of myself.
Honestly, looking back at all those years of wading through puberty in high school, entering college, chasing after dreams and discovering tainted realities, I am not the same person I used to be. It’s a good consolation that we never remain quite the same.
I don’t know if many of us grow into the people we’ve always wanted to be. I don’t know if I can truthfully say that I am well-pleased with my progress in this journey of becoming more Christlike, or being a better writer, or just being a better version of Carissa Gan. I don’t know if I’ve become the person that my 8-year-old self would’ve been proud of and aspired to be.
But I do know that this is a journey that takes time – lots of it – and sometimes growth happens in the quiet corners of life that often go unseen or unnoticed. It’s almost always accompanied by a pain and loss of something personal. That changes you, and deep in your heart, you know something has been rewired in your life and a major shift has taken place.
And with every passing day, month and year, you know that you probably didn’t accomplish everything you secretly hoped you would. You still look at other 27-year-olds and wonder, “What am I really doing with my life? Am I living up to God’s standards? Am I making a difference in my community? Am I learning new things or still frolicking in my comfort zone?”
Of course I hope to God that I’m growing forward, but there are just exhausting periods of time when I feel stuck in the same place without an ounce of motivation to move forward.
This time, I’m just going to take it one day at a time and be real with myself. Maybe I’m not exactly where I hoped I’d be. But I’m still here, pouring my messy mind out on digital paper.
I’m thankful for all the mountains I conquered. I’m still climbing some right now, but I’m not going to rush the uphill battle. My pace might be slow, but at least I’m still on this mountain. I’m still climbing it, and one fine day, I’ll be able to stand proud and tall on its summit and look down at the vast and deep expanse of the journey, and know that I conquered another giant in my life.