Monday, 13 June 2016

A long time ago in a city far far away

Once upon a time in a small provincial city in an island nation at the bottom of the earth far away from the bright lights of New York, Paris, London and Shanghai a young boy was growing up. He was doing what most children were doing in this small provincial city, he would play cricket in the summer, he would play soccer in the winter and he would hang out with his friends playing different games on his friend's Commodore 64.

The boy was lucky as both sides of his family lived in the city and were fairly close. He had a close relationship with his grandparents and would visit them frequently. He had a few close friends who he would hang out with mostly and had a loving family with a younger brother who shared his interests.

As the boy got older he grew more and more interested in life outside of his island and would stare at his world map on his bedroom wall and wonder about the big bad outside world. He had never been off his island in his first 16 years while his friends seemed to have travelled the world. He finally got his chance close to his 17 birthday. He travelled to the much bigger island about three hours away by plane from his island and he had a wonderful time. He also travelled to a very small island also about three hours away and at the time wondered what it would be like to live in a place like that.

A couple of years later, he had a chance to go to one of the world's biggest cities where he stayed for 9 months. The young boy who was now a young man was so nervous. He had never been to a country like this with so many people in it. His friend came to see him off at the airport and was shocked at how unresponsive the young man was. He was so nervous that he could barely talk to his friend who he had known for over 7 years. It was like he had withdrawn and was already preparing himself for the next episode of his trip.

The young man arrived in the huge city. He had never seen so many people in the one place at the same time. He was shocked. How could he last nine months in this place he would think to himself. He was kept pretty busy for most of the nine months but at times he needed to disappear to the sanctuary of his room when the numbers of people around him got too much. Sometimes, especially on Sundays he would stay in his room not because he necessarily wanted to but because something inside of him knew that he had to or he would go crazy. However as the nine months past and the young man got comfortable with the city and the people around him things started to grow on him and he started to go out more and generally be more social. It developed so much that by the time the end of the nine months rolled around he didn't want to go back to his island.

The young man went back to his island and at that stage he was back at square one. He had to reacquaint himself with the people around him and all of this with his new perspective on life. He found it difficult. The people around him thought that he was a bit weird. He wasn't himself they would say.

The young man went to university and he didn't have what would be called a "normal" university experience. He stayed at home with his parents and didn't really fit into the university experience that it seemed a lot of people were having. Flatting, drinking every night, raucous parties. Well that is what the young man thought that the university experience should be anyway. The young man thought about this. Half of him thought that he wanted this kind of lifestyle while the other half of him was scared of what kind of problems that kind of lifestyle would bring him. He was torn. He tried to do a couple of things that he thought that he might enjoy and would bring him that university experience but they turned into disasters and he felt completely out of his comfort zone.

As the young man's university experience drew to a close he decided to go back to the big city he had spent nine months in before. Part of the reason was he wasn't sure what he wanted to do and another reason was he always wanted to go back to the big city he had spent time in before.

As time passed the city grew on him and liked the fact that there was a lot of things to do and he was meeting more and more people and having the university experience he had on his home island. Things were comfortable and he enjoyed his time and he was able to travel a bit and see the world.

The young man enjoyed his lifestyle but he wanted something more. He wanted a challenge so he tried something that turned out to be not him at all. He didn't understand his personality and it turned out to be a bit of a disaster something that he is still recovering from but from this disaster the young man was able to learn about himself and about the people around him. He was able to understand why people act like they do and with this knowledge he could start to instruct people about why people do what they do and how they can fit into a world in which they might struggle to fit into.

You have probably guessed already that that story was about me. I grew up quite introverted and to a certain extent I still am, however I do know that we live in an extroverted world whether we like it or not, so join me on a journey as we navigate this world to fit in with everyone but lets learn not to lose our identity and be ourselves, a better version of ourselves.

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