As I am growing older, I have come to contemplate more and more (Yeah, yeah, it may be due to the New Year season fever!). The young me some twenty years ago and the present me are actually two different persons; the only thing that keeps us is the memory we shared. The memories that are configured in multitude forms, i.e, experience, learning processes, trying processes, good times, bad times, heartbreaking moments, delighted moments among others. The present me may have thought differently over some matters, yet still may remain the same in some parts. As I grow older, I learn, relearn and get reminded that identity is a constant negotiation. It is a space to negotiate and re-negotiate between me and myself, me and the people around me, me and the environment that I am currently living in and me and the world itself. It is a constantly ongoing process. I, in my deepest awareness and sometimes in my weakest innocence, realize that I have too many identities in me; way too many. Nelly who is a loyal daughter, a loving wife, an eager student, an energetic teacher, a lifetime learner, a compassionate friend, a passionate lover, a best friend, an avid reader, an occasional writer, a freak drama fan, a zealous music listener, a world traveler and other identities that are way too many to list and to mention.
Along with my constant renegotiation about my own identity in my own learning process (the process that takes eternity and is everlasting), I learn to notice that the Nelly now is expected to be different in her way of thinking and behaving. That is inevitable, right? As I persistently jog my brain to keep remembering that, self and the old self are essentially two different human beings who have only memory as a shared bridge. So, the change in your own self is inescapable. The new Nelly who is now able to leave some trivial stuff off from her mind, as it is already full with other important stuff. The New Nelly who can be strong but fragile at the same may remain the same, only now she is able to select what to put in her brain, and what to dump right away so her mind is not full of some emotional trash.
This new self has also learned that relationships, just like other situations in life, can succeed and can fail. I try not to cry over the failed ones, but try to cherish the successful ones as much as possible. Among other relationships, I brood on a friendship matter a lot. The old self was used to be a cry baby who could spend the whole night and day thinking over a failed friendship, wondering what I had done so wrong so it didn’t get through as I aimed at. The old me could shamelessly ask for forgiveness just to make sure the friendship could recover. The old me innocently thought that everything would be restored and cured if only I ask for an endless forgiveness. Yet, friendship, just like any other human relationship, should take two to tango. The new me has come to realize that people, just like things, have their own time in our life. Some are meant to stay longer than others. Some teach us to be stronger, while others teach us to love and appreciate ourselves more. This new self has also witnessed as much as people can be mean and ignorant, there will always be those souls who love you sincerely and wholeheartedly. These people expect nothing but happiness from you. To them, your happiness matters the most. So, try not to take them for granted. Love them. Embrace them. It is not a matter of time difference or distance, it is a matter how your relationship should be equally appreciated and mutually executed. Some trying moments in 2015 have taught me valuable lesson. And I don’t wait to fail to at least take notes from them.
While the new me may have changed a lot (hopefully towards a good end), I still share some qualities with the old me: that is to treasure people in my life. Regardless. Those who give you pain only make you stronger, while those who love you sincerely and grow on you will make your heart fonder and make this journey worthwhile and worth-living. Forgive those who have painfully hurt you while crossing path. Embrace those who have been with you during the healing time.
In this very moment, hug those who matter the most. Drop them a line or two. Skype with them, a 15-30 minute should suffice. Email them. Text them. Whatsapp them. LINE them. Use any means possible to tell them that they exist favorably and meaningfully in your life. Tell them how you genuinely appreciate them in your life.
This Nelly will keep growing and learning as long as she lives. As 2016 comes closer, she is excited with what 2016 has in store; she is equally patient to learn and to uncover what 2016 has to offer. The year 2015 apparently has taught her to be a stronger self, so hopefully the year of 2016 will teach her to be more compassionate, more loving, more giving and more thoughtful not only towards others, but also towards herself. It is through years of learning that she learned it is important to love herself, before loving someone else. As cliche as it can be, the saying “I love you as the way you are” should actually begin with “I love me as the way I am.” Loving your self in its true sense is equally important because it empowers you to be true to yourself before you are true to someone else. Only with a full acceptance of yourself, you can then learn to love others.
This New me, while continuously changing and refining my own self in this course of life, is still one caring soul who will wish you nothing but the BEST!
So, thank you 2015 for all the roller coaster of life! And hello, 2016!
***Written in the 12th month of the year 2105, Winter in the West coast, with too much rain, and an essentially noticeable absence of snow.