Imagine, if you will, a boy walking in the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales in bleak, grey September. This boy is leading a team of around six on a weekend of brilliant views, blisters and so-called ‘banter’. Right now, he is looking out across a small lake a few metres away, posing for a camera before heading over to collect some more water.
He is 16, and has just started his first year as an A-Level student. He has no idea whatsoever that, within one year from now, he will have:
- decided what career path he wishes to take, and learned how to get there
- learned more about different worldviews, studies and other disciplines than he could have previously understood
- discovered more literature, music and miscellaneous online content than he knew existed
- started thinking more seriously about what his life will need to look like once he has left his parents’ home
- been inspired to let his Christian faith have a greater influence on his life
- started a blog on which to share thoughts about said faith, which probably only gets read by no more than five people at a time
If the last point there didn’t tip you off, that boy is me. Or he was, a couple of years ago. So much has changed in my life since then that if I were to borrow a TARDIS and hop back in time to meet that boy, he might well have a hard time recognising his future self. I’m not actually going to go into the reasons why I believe those changes occurred right now, simply because I don’t feel they fit the tone I’m trying to create with this post. I will say, however, that I didn’t notice them happening at the time; only now that those things have happened do I realise how much I’ve changed.
My temptation with all of this is to look back at those days as some kind of ‘innocent’ era, when life was a lot simpler than it is now. I just couldn’t live in that time forever, though, because I’m far more able to get by in the world now than I was then, thanks to all I’ve learned. It’s not that everything about me is different; there were some things that made me recognisably ‘me’ that are still around today. But on the whole, I’ve become a much more well-rounded individual.
A while ago on Facebook, I came across this quote: “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” As cheesy as that little soundbite might be, it really speaks into my situation quite nicely. It also means I can’t forget that I still have a lot of progress to be made, so I can’t dwell on my present state as the best I’ll ever be (because it’s not). Here’s to hoping the next two years will change me as much as the last two did!