Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lessons Learned: Becoming an Adult Version

I’m back. My life is different, and I’m not surprised that I’ve taken so long to get myself back into blogging. But nonetheless, here I am, and I have lessons to share! The thing is, I’ve been away from home for exactly 83 days now (yes, I’m keeping track), and I have been exploring a brand new version of myself. That new version is adult Daniella. Legally, I am an adult, but I don’t feel that way at all. I feel like I’m in this weird purgatory between teenager and adulthood. I now realize that the adult feeling isn’t going to hit me like a tonne of bricks. It’s going to be a process made up a small “adulting” moments. So in my 83 days in Leeds, this is what I have learned about being an adult so far.

1.       Getting lost is the best way to find your way.

I could get into this meaning in an analytical sense, but I mean this quite literally. A few weekends ago, I went on a weekend trip to Bath with my friends. We were on a walking tour of the city, and they actually ended up leaving me because they got bored. I had no idea where to go, so I wandered my way around for three hours. And by wander, I mean I was lost, and I loved it. Later on, I met up with my friends, and I ended up knowing exactly where we were meeting the group for dinner because of my wanderings. So, in getting lost, I found exactly where I needed to be.

2.       Finding ways to deal with your emotions is going to change throughout your life.

Hard days are going to hit you in every walk of life. The thing about moving away from everyone you love is that you can no longer heavily rely on those people to keep you going. All the people in my life have a specific role, and at the beginning of my time here, I found myself lost without them. Years ago, journaling used to be my way to cope with issues, and I’ve shifted to writing once again. Without my support group close to me, I now find myself writing page after page on my tough days just so I can vent. It wasn’t until recently that I started relying on my writing again, and it has become a crucial daily ritual.

3.       It’s okay to be a different person.

I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, but it still rings true. I’m the kind of person who feels guilty for changing who I am. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that IT IS OKAY TO CHANGE. Change is not a bad thing. I’m not compromising my morals in any way. I’m growing into myself. Being away from home has allowed me to reach my full potential and push past the boundaries I have set for myself. I’m constantly reminding myself that changing is part of becoming an adult.

4.       It’s okay to not be homesick.

Now this is a point that makes me feel guilty quite often. The thing is, this experience has been in the works for six years. I am living my dream. However, I spent the past few months waiting for that wave of homesickness to hit me. The truth is, it hasn’t, and that’s okay. That’s how I know that I am exactly where I need to be. Things are going well here. School is great, I’m thriving in my seminars, my friends are amazing, and everything has fallen into place. Does that mean I don’t miss people? Not at all! Ideally, I want everyone to come here. But I’m so happy here, and it’s okay to not feel homesick because I’ve made myself a new home right here.
 
London, England via Instagram

5.       Cooking is an amazing way to impress both yourself and other people.

So here’s something new: I can cook. I know I can bake well, but I’ve never really experimented with cooking because I’ve never had to do it. My mom armed me with a handful of recipes, so with that and the help of trusty Pinterest, I figured out how to cook. I can make a great spaghetti sauce, do my own interpretation of garlic parmesan chicken, and I’m incredibly satisfied about making my favourite dish of fettucine alfredo. You get an incredible sense of pride from doing your own cooking. Plus, all my flatmates are impressed with what I can do. I’m not the simple pasta and jars of sauce like they are. And I’m a strong believer that everything tastes better if you make it yourself.

6.       Learning how to maneuver unfamiliar transportation and read maps are important life skills. 

I will never stop being thankful that my mother taught me how to read a map. I was in London a couple weeks ago, and my travel companions were – and let me be direct here – directionally challenged. I was the youngest one there, and I was telling them how to get places. I figured out the tube, I knew the landmarks, and I used the maps. So there I was in big ol’ London, and I found a new sense of confidence. I also have this irrational fear of new transportation, and on this trip, I took the train to London by myself for the first time. I was terrified and anxious and my heart was beating so fast, but I knew once I did it, I would be fine. That trip was a big turnaround for me.

7.       Booking trips and hotels is surprisingly satisfying.

I am going to Amsterdam for Christmas, and I’ve been looking into going to York for New Year’s. I also booked a couple small trips earlier, and altogether, it’s such a freeing feeling. It’s a new freedom to do what you want. I’ve had many adult moments just sitting there at my computer looking at prices of flights versus buses or mapping out the cheapest hotels to where the city centre is. I love it, and I want to do more of it when I get back to Canada!

Every time I have an “adult moment,” I feel a sense of pride, and I always share it with my parents. Growing up is a long process, and the little moments like these matter. These items have been after only two and half months of being away from home, so I cannot wait to see what else is in store for the rest of the year.

-Daniella