Take credit for you

I’m only three short years removed from highschool, and I just took the walk across stage that ended the college portion of my education.

I moved closer to my parents to start my career, and in the week off I had between ending college and starting a new job, I decided to catch up with some old friends. I was in the car with a girl I’d stayed in touch with since middle school when she said something I would dwell on for days.

"I was talking with Tran about how much your boyfriend has changed you."

Then after my snort and side glare she quickly tacked on "for the better!"

As though that would somehow change the initial insult I found in two of my old high school friends talking about how I let my boyfriend changed me. Essentially, giving him the credit for the personal growth I went through a lot crap to achieve.

I took it with good humor though, and we had a nice talk about what she meant, which I have been reflecting on and drawing conclusions from ever since. I’m now ready to share what I’ve come up with.

Here were her main points.

1. I like country music now.
2. I do more outdoor activities.
3. I go out less.

1. I like country music now.

This one may seem trivial, but I think she took almost personal offense to this because in high school I would always tease her about listening to it and refuse to have it on in the car.

I grew up with a large variety of music genres. I loved everything from the Beatles to System of a Down, but the one thing we did not have in our house was country. I was raised to believe it was whiny men with accents singing about a girl. I didn't dislike it, even though I said I did, because I'd honesty never listened to it.

Going away to college and living with three other girls, I could hardly yell at them to turn off their country music while we cleaned the apartment. Then enter my boyfriend a few months later who had country stations programmed in the car. I was simply exposed to it, and to my amazement, I liked a good portion of it.

I can give my boyfriend and those girls credit for introducing me to country music, but can anyone really claim credit for me liking it? Really? Not so much.

2. I do more outdoor activities.

This statement is 110 percent true. In high school if I was doing something outdoorsy it was only because someone was making me. Period. Even if I enjoyed the activity once I got out there, I would always fight tooth and nail against it. I was the definition of a bookworm. I would go through a book a day and start a new one right after it. To me, reading about other people's adventures was wayyyy more enjoyable than actually having one. After all, I spent so much time inside reading, I only had to step outside for a minute to get a sunburn. Not fun.

My boyfriend is the picture perfect outdoorsy man. You would probably wonder how on Earth we even got along at first, like my parents did. Our first outing together when we were still in that in-between friends and dating stage, was a canoe fishing trip. There is something so magical about the beginning stages of a relationship where you each share what you love with the other. And while I enjoy the catching part way more than the actual fishing part, I highly enjoyed the canoeing. Even more so, I enjoyed him sharing an activity he loved so much with me.

If you asked him, he would probably say the same about the nerdy girl who discovered he'd never even so much as watched a single Harry Potter movie, and quickly remedied that.

That's part of a relationship though, and you know what? On this small part I concede. My boyfriend helped me expand my interests, and it's helped me grow as a person. There is nothing wrong with that.

3. I go out less.

Let's clear up one thing. I was never a big partier, and my partying days were short lived and quiet tame compared to most. Even so, it only takes so many hang overs, bad decisions and horrible situations to chase you out of the party scene.

My boyfriend was never a partier. Didn't even dabble in that world and to this day I haven't seen him even slightly inebriated. Hanging out with someone who doesn't go out obviously forces you to find other things to do. And there are a lot of other fun things to do.

My days on the wild side were numbered from the start, and that's fine with me. I go out with the girls occasionally and have a ton of fun. But I'm not the type of person to make it routine.


So why was insulted when my friend claimed my boyfriend changed me? It makes it sound as though it was outside my control. I’d be lying if I said the people I spend time with don’t influence me, but in the end, I’m responsible for what kind of person I am. And I’ll be damned if I let someone else dictate who I am. No one has that power. Not a significant other or even an old high school friend.