No time? Listen to it instead
Last month, I asked for things people wanted me to talk about in the long-form articles. There were a lot of interesting prompts, but three stood out. Here’s the first one which was about what I learned during my transition to adulthood.
Some part of me wanted to write practical advice on how to go about different things like finances and other ideas. I might do that later still. However, I felt that those things remain subjective.
So, I started to think more about the transition. I thought about what changed for me as I became an adult (which still seems like a joke, to be honest).
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I made it in the form of the common question:
What would I tell my younger self?
I have had countless answers over the past weeks. I also decided to do a list article for this where we’d have a list of things which I’d want to tell my younger self.
Eventually, I settled on just one thing. Here’s what I’ll tell my younger self.
Here is, perhaps, the only lesson I have learned between being a skinny kid to a slightly less scrawny and slightly more adjusted adult.
The idea is to be blatantly yourself.
That’s the principle right there. That’s the one thing I could narrow every learning or achievement down to as I went through hoops and heaps to find the lessons.
As a kid, it was my deepest desire to fit in into specific groups. I wanted to be the cool kid. You know, the typical middle school goals. Even transitioning to adolescence, I never really shook that feeling or want.
Something changed during the time I was in college.
The main difference between those two selves is simply this: I am now blatantly myself.
I’m shamelessly the person I am, and any time something or someone makes me feel otherwise, it’s where I call it quits.
At least, I try to when the opportunity presents itself.
While I was thinking about everything I’ve done so far, I realised all the good that has come into my life happened because of authenticity.
The good stuff stemmed only from the moments when I had a thought that said, “I want to do this”, and then I did it.
Every other instance, every time I did the right thing, the correct thing, or the smart thing made me feel miserable immediately or in hindsight.
Here’s a gist of what I mean when I say “blatantly yourself”:
- dropping out of college once
- picking up all sorts of random hobbies
- making stickers for a game because it was fun
- taking random trips to meet friends for the most mundane reasons
- being oddly proud of how much I loved Minesweeper or Pokémon
- being ridiculously passionate about making
- taking a gap year when I was done with college
- doing a master’s online while travelling
- travelling alone when I felt like I had to
- taking a multitude of online courses because why not?
- doing a masters degree online because why not?
- creating a long birthday ritual where I escape from society for a day
- still being as idiosyncratic as I can be
- overstressing on philosophy and boring the hell out of my friends
- finding friends who are okay when I bore them with stuff
- fixating about my routine
- making obnoxious puns which make people cringe hard
You can’t have an exciting life if you continually please everyone or live by a standard.
If all the mental gymnastics even makes 1% sense for something you want to do, be blatantly yourself and do it.
It could be a general habit, or it could be a life-changing decision. If it makes sense in your head after all the well-meaning advice, do it.
Of course, there’s a survivorship bias here and definitely, this is no validation for nihilism and going out doing something morally unjustifiable.
This advice is about being authentic and not aspiring to anything but a better version of yourself.
In any case, take this advice with a grain of salt since it comes from just a single person.
The idea is to be blatantly yourself. This is the one maxim for my entire journey to adulthood. I firmly believe that no matter what happens, authenticity goes a long way. Often, it feels like a dumb thing to do to be authentic. People will give you all sorts of shortcuts and tricks but the thing is, they don’t know where they are going with them. When you’re authentic, you do.
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