Back to Basics

I should probably introduce myself… but how? Everyone loves talking about their own problems and thoughts, but suddenly hate it when asked, “so tell me about yourself,” in introductions or interviews, and I am no exception to this. Not wanting to come off as narcissistic, but wanting to express myself.

If you asked teenage me what I thought my life would be like at 23, I would have told you I would be established, living in some big city somewhere, near some beach, with it all “figured out,” dating some Zac Efron doppelgänger.

The lowest point of my life was during my last year of college. The pressures of graduating and denying that I wanted a different life than where it was heading got to me. I defaulted to a pre-medical route, same as over half of students entering college, with less than a quarter of which actually follow through with it.

And in no way am I ridiculing people who do end up becoming doctor, that’s a great profession for those who find their passion in it. I thought I did too.

But it was a structured path, that I used as a crutch. I was scared shitless of the unknown. By covering it up with a facade of calm and cool, I recreated myself with everything 16 year old me dreamt to be: I took up surfing, I lived by the beach, I watched the sunset every day, I went to parties, I went to a prestigious school.

But it wasn’t me.

I lost sight of who I was. I became this person who I wanted to be, without substance. As a result, I started not enjoying all of the things I thought I always would. I stopped surfing, finding Netflix reruns more valuable to stay sane. I didn’t go to the beach, finding it a hassle to go. I found sunsets boring, thinking of all the other things I should be doing instead. I started becoming secluded, not wanting to interact with people. I resented the school I went to, blaming it for not helping me be more prepared for the future ahead.

I was blaming all of these outside factors rather than think about how I was the problem.

Soon, I couldn’t get out of bed to go to class even though I was awake. I talked to my friends less, not wanting them to worry. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing and waves of nausea. I went to the doctor multiple times with the same symptoms and they found nothing. Then I finally told a friend about it, and she told me to go see a therapist.

I encourage all my friends to go see someone when they are feeling like they need to. It is important to have someone to talk to, and sometimes it is even better to have a professional, who can give you an objective insight. I always tell them to go see someone, but it took me months to get myself to.

And if I saw someone earlier, it would have helped me sooner.

What I got from my short time with a therapist was that it is crucial to be honest with myself and as much as we are told to take care of our bodies, we often forget that our mind is a part of that.

I lost myself.

I needed to get back to basics to find myself again.

Basics such as rediscovering what made me happy because nothing I did anymore.

If sunsets didn’t bring me joy anymore, I had to find something new. I slowly started finding simple joys again, such as, the serenity of evergreens hugging me and the waves of the ocean breathing life into me. I started getting back into hobbies such as photography and writing in my journal. I read books I meant to get to, but never made the time for, found new residence in coffee shops and new places alone without the fear of loneliness, and spent quality time with people I cared for again without the anxiety of being less important than something else they could be doing.

The importance of being okay with myself started becoming a priority, and often, it had come second to the expectations I had for myself. I blamed society, my parents, and friends, for pushing me to go after something I didn’t want, but it was my fault for making the choices I did. At the end of the day we all have the power of choice.

We choose the life we want to grow old with.

And with horribly built foundations, we can’t build much without toppling over. At the center, we must have a strong core of ourselves that include a vision of who we are, fundamental values, and self-care.

Someone told me, “You can’t poor from an empty vase. You must be filled as well.”

It took me getting back to the basics of what made my happy to start making a strong base to begin building myself up and to effectively give myself to others once again.

So, I scratched everything after I graduated and decided to try all the things I always wanted to do and learn about that no institution or classroom could teach me.

I figured if there is a time to try things and fail, it is in your 20's.

And that has caught you up to where I am now, getting back to basics.