Illustration By Ashley Stewart.

I am surprised at the course my life has taken. It was nearly impossible to predict the trajectory of my life over the years. I feel like I’m not the same person I was four years ago, nor am I the same person that I was last week, or even yesterday. Because of this, I question who I am now, and who I’ll become in the future. 

There are times that drastic shifts in my beliefs, demeanor and general attitude have taken place over the course of a day. This reminds me of the old thought problem that asks, “if a broom has all of its parts replaced, is it still the same broom?” 

I think about whether or not I am still myself anymore, after changing so much and so often. The only thing that ties together who I used to be and who I am now are my memories of the past. Since I am generally ashamed of who I used to be, I feel unsure about who I am now. 

I obsess over the patterns I’ve observed when I feel secure in the moment, then look back on what I did and find major fault in it later. Based on that logic, I must be way off-base about something right now. I just can’t see it yet because I don’t have the benefit of hindsight. 

It’s impractical to be fearful of change and being wrong. It comes down to a matter of perspective. I could question everything I think, to the point that I never feel sure of anything. Or, I could look at it as a positive opportunity to learn and grow. 

Excessive rumination is worse than being wrong and coming to terms with it later. Instead of focusing on my past mistakes, I should be concerned about how I will learn from them to become a better person.

The slight change in my mindset makes all the difference when it comes to managing my anxiety. It is more beneficial to focus on how much I have improved than it is to worry about how much more there is left to work on. 

I am excited for the future because of the inherent potential of moving forward, as opposed to dreading the present because I’m afraid that I might discover how things could have been better.