Growin’ Up

Foto: sxc.hu

There’s a song that Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson sing in duet. It’s called „To all the girls I’ve loved before” and it’s dedicated to all the women they had coming in and out of their lives, women who left traces on their way of seeing life, on their character…in the end on their way of being.

Those women who indirectly moulded them into the people they are today. It’s a beautiful song. It’s simple and meaningful and, in a nutshell, it stands for something we should all endorse more often – GRATITUDE.

In order to make your dreams come true, you should never ever forget to be grateful for what you’ve got. If you keep complaining about all the things that you DON’T have, about people who mistreated you, about lovers who treated you wrong, friends who betrayed you and about your boss who never acknowledged your merits…well, I’m sorry to tell you but you’re cruising full speed on the international highway of misery and there’s no sign you’re going to stop anytime soon.

I was talking to a friend on New Year’s and she was telling me that her resolution for 2008 is starting from scratch, with a clean slate, leaving all the bad things behind and focusing only on what the future has in store. That is a wonderful resolution and I know it will work out for her. However, the past is something that we cannot simply wrap in a bag and throw into the waste basket. Maybe things would be simpler if it were. There are people, experiences, disappointments, unrequited love affairs that if we don’t settle once and for all, they will eventually come back to haunt us. Even if we think we’re fine, one day, without warning, they’ll all come rushing back, simply because they were never out of our system in the first place.

I am grateful. I am truly grateful and I said it in my last post of 2007. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed but I know that 2008 will be better. It will be better because I have learned to change myself first. To operate the small changes within me that are needed in order to get where I want. And it is only recently that I realized I had so many ropes invisibly tying me to old experiences, to sorrows and griefs of the past. And that’s something that I cannot possibly allow for my wonderful 2008.

Probably if I were a song-writer, I would put my feelings into a song, just like Iglesias and Nelson did. A song called „To all the boys I’ve loved before”, „To all the people I’ve ever cared about and who let me down”, „To all those who were my friends and aren’t anymore” or…all of the above. I am a writer, the canvas of my thoughts is the white paper or…the white blog-window these days :), not the piano keys nor the guitar. This is why my first blog in 2008 goes to all the people from my past, people that used to be in my life and aren’t anymore. People whom I loved and got betrayed/cheated/lied by etc. People that I wasn’t thinking about anymore but they were somehow still present in my heart. I somehow never brought myself to the point of fully letting them go. Now I do. THANK YOU ALL, but I’m letting you go now.

Before I left for the New Year’s Party, as I was dressing up in my red 2008 dress :), I caught sight of a picture that my mother likes very much and that lies on the phone-table in my house. It was taken on New Year’s Eve 2004-2005. Exactly 3 years ago. I looked at that picture and was somewhat mesmerized by what I saw…I was so innocent back then. I was so young (not that I’m old now, but I was 20 back then), so naive (incredibly naive, if I look back at it), I had the most uninspired crushes on guys that I wouldn’t even bother to go on a date with now…but everything was real. It was honest, it was sincere. That was me…then. Even if some of the things I liked, disliked or wanted back then are no longer valid for the 2008-Diana, they were still things I believed in with all my heart. And that is why they deserve my respect.

Digging even deeper into my memories, I now realize that there were people who disappointed me simply because I had my hopes way too up, impossible for them to reach them. I was always too…different. Not better or worse. Simply different.

You might laugh, but I’ve always been a kind of a „grown-up-kid”, ever since I was 4 or 5. I grew up among adults and got the hang of their activities long before my time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved dolls and I loved to play, but I also adored books, I devoured the news on tv (fortunately for me, there were no „5 o’clock news” back then, so there was no danger), I liked music, I wanted to know what was going on. And I vividly remember being 6 years old and telling my grandmother that this childhood is kinda’ boring. That I want to grow up, become a famous journalist and get married with a beautiful-intelligent-handsome man. Yeap…I said it. I remember every word. And I meant it. I just couldn’t wait.

I’ve always rushed into growing up, but not like most kids that become rebel teenagers and just want to revolt against something they don’t know, just for the sake of it. I was almost always (too) serious for my age. I refused to go to kindergarten because it was „absolutely boring and stupid”(quote from 4-year-old Diana) and the first 4 grades were utterly useless and lacking any type of challenge, as I had learned to read and write when I was 5 and I remember being unpleasantly surprised by some of my colleagues that could hardly spell words in the 4th grade. Middle school was even worse, as I started writing for magazines when I was 12 and continued up to highschool. And no…it’s not such a smart move being DIFFERENT, when you’re in your pre-teens. I could never fit in among my school-colleagues and that made me feel bad sometimes, but now I realize I was simply being too mature for my age. It wasn’t their fault, it was mine. They were being childish, that’s what a 11 year old is supposed to be. However, I wasn’t the typical 11 years old so I couldn’t fully understand it. At that point, I felt disappointed and misunderstood. Now I simply understand I was too much of a handful for them to handle…they were 10 year olds, for God’s sake :). However, that feeling of not fitting in kinda stayed with me for (too) much time and I only recently caught track of it.

Everything changed in highschool and that was the first time I bonded with people, the first time I truly made friends, some of those friendships still last and I know they will last a lifetime. And that’s simply because I got among people who were just like me. We were all right for each other. We were 15 year old kids interested in theater, opera, music and reading. We were the first in line for concerts and plays, we could talk forever about books, we had different ways of having fun. And yes…we had some GREAT GREAT parties, probably the best I ever had. But we were all alike. We were all more mature and that’s what contributed to my feeling of fitting in.

However, college wasn’t like that at all. For me, college was a bit like going back to middle-school all over again. My colleagues were great people, but very different and some of them did not absolutely show their age. Some of them, I’m sorry to say it, still behave like 14-year-olds and if that works for them…it’s great, but I felt somewhat estranged there. I’ve met some nice people that I am still good friends with (I even celebrated New Year’s with some of them), but it was definitely a different experience. And now, looking back at my „professional trajectory”, if I may pompously call it this way…I understand why I was always a rather solitary person. I was always TOO serious for my age. I always enjoyed the company of older guys rather than fuzzy teenagers, I always thought people my age were utterly immature and childish. And maybe they were. Anyway…I just started thinking about all this when I realized that I’m turning 24. 24!!! I’m all grown-up now. There’s no more thin line between adolescence and maturity…I’m a full-blown adult. And you know what? I love it! :)))

Now I can simply waive to the 6-year old Diana who wanted to grow up, have the big career and get married. Hey, you there! I’m here…I’m 24, I can have it now. It may sound surprising, but I’m not nostalgic about anything. Not about middle-school(God forbid :) ), not about highschool (although it was amazing, but 4 years was enough), certainly not about college. This is where I belong now. Adulthood. I’ve always sought that, I’ve always felt more comfortable like that.

And now…yes, I’m an adult, now I can turn all my dreams into a reality, NOW I fit in. And I forgive all the people who disappointed me, who -knowingly or unknowingly- hurt me, people whom I didn’t understand and who didn’t understand me. And I’m grateful for their presence in my life. I know they left traces on me, some stronger, some almost unnoticeable, but they were part of my past. And one cannot look into the future without reconciling with one’s past.

When I was in Belfast, I took a picture of a quote written on the wall of an Irish Pub. I loved it…it was so true. It said: „A nation that keeps an eye on the past is wise. A nation that keeps two eyes on the past is blind”. And it works for people just as well. You don’t have to forget, just…let it go, detach yourself from it.

I know what I want now. And I know that the faults of the past were mine as well…I was expecting too much out of people who were not ready. Just because I was ready to start my journey through life a looong time ago, it doesn’t mean that everybody was. Farewell 2007 and all the years before. You were good years, I loved you all…but 2008 is my present and everything after it is my future. Cause I am 24 and I abso-fuckin-lutely LOVE IT ! :)

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