When I was 16 years old, I was just budding into a new world. I had issues like any other teenager and needed to grow up. I had to gain maturity over time and, in doing so, I believe I came out a better person. Since that age, many of my traits have changed, such as my values, my beliefs, and my character.
My beliefs as a teenager were likely the most monumental change that occurred in my transition into adulthood. I was raised in a strict Christian household, commuted to church twice a week, and was even enrolled in a private Christian school until 8th grade. This, of course, developed in me a strong belief in the Christian religion; however, my faith was tested upon attending public high school. In my 11th grade English class, we studied creation stories: those found in Greek mythology, Native American word of mouth stories, as well as the Biblical account of creation. “The World on the Turtle’s Back” was one of my favorite creation myths of the Native Americans. Being exposed to this knowledge of an array of other people with their own unique beliefs and virtues allowed the opportunity for questioning and exploration into many other religions and ways of thought. Along with discussing these stories in English, my Biology course opened my eyes to the nature of humanity in studying evolution and learning more of the age of the earth. I came to appreciate science more and more with each day and found enjoyment in reading books on origins of life. Books such as The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, as well as A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking were excellent sources to quench my scientific inquiry. This interest in gaining knowledge and understanding led me to pursue a path of questioning myself and the world around me.
Today, I consider myself to be a spiritual person, more in tune with my surrounding nature. I developed an appreciation for all things religious, yet hold no firm belief of my own in any particular stance. That is to say that I am now more open-minded to learn of others’ personal beliefs, and neither reject them nor deny them their validity. I feel free and fluid in my spirituality, and quite enjoy talking openly about it when anyone finds interest.
My values have also changed quite a bit in the last 5 years. With few monetary responsibilities, I abused the little minimum wage earnings I had, spending more than $5000 on Amazon in high school. I valued my money, but in a way that happened to be very irresponsible and unnecessary. My father paid for my guitar lessons at the time, and I took my talent for granted. I practiced much less than I should have or, often times, not at all, and progressed much more slowly in developing my skill. I also took my time for granted, spending it doing activities that hindered my time with close friends, leaving my appreciation for them to grow stagnant.
At age 21, I am picking up my guitar once more, learning to write my own songs, paying for my own lessons, and being more responsible with my time as well as my money. This has inspired a passion for music and a growing appreciation for the art of writing my own lyrics as well as the sounds that follow. Along with having moved out recently, I am more monetarily stable in paying my own bills and saving for recreational desires. On top of being more of an adult, I have rekindled friendships and hope to continue making lifelong relationships.
Lastly, my character has grown dramatically. In my teenage years, I was a gullible person, a selfish friend, yet still a follower of my group. I was quick to judge, but easily fell into manipulative friendships. I tended to ‘go with the flow’ to fit in, and never really gave myself the chance to just be me. In recent days, I am prone to keep an eye out for negativity, and am now closer to a leader than a follower, making decisions along with a group of friends or coworkers instead of allowing myself to stay complacent. I have certainly grown in maturity over the last few years; however, I am still working on becoming a more selfless person. I feel that I now have the determination to be a man of my own respect.
In the past, I abused my income, took my friends for granted, neglected useful talents, and held a very closed mind. I also had no goals for my future or career, wasting most of my time in a video game or a bad habit. My outlook on life was bleak and terrifying. Today, I am responsible, appreciative, and quite open to endless possibilities, setting goals and expectations for my future, and doing my best to meet them. I hope to someday make a living writing poetry and short stories, and am already delving into a novel work that I plan to finish before my fourth year. I have surely changed as a person and will continue to grow in moving forward.