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Self Reflection or Self Destruction?

I still remember my life prior to the first quarantine in 2020 like it was yesterday. I was on the cheerleading team. I was going to Wendy’s with my friends after school. I participated in every spirit week. I was nearing 1000 followers on Instagram. I had so much to say, so many things I wanted to do. I was so full of life and potential.

Flash forward three years, I am now a senior. I can barely do a cartwheel. I go out about once every three months. I would consider myself to have two friends, on a good day. I have the half-day schedule I always wanted, but now I feel that being in school for even five minutes is way too long. I am indifferent to many of the joys I once had. I am nothing like who I was before.

I have frequently found myself comparing my past and my present, often feeling like I am now worse off. I view my disinterest in holding an insignificant conversation as being antisocial. I assume my lack of friends means I am unlovable. I think that because I spend so much time alone, I must be lonely. My thoughts spiral, creating a never ending cycle of self-doubt, and in turn, hatred. Self-reflection is meant to be beneficial when done in moderation, but for me, it has become an unhealthy obsession.

I have learned that it is very easy to focus on what you don’t have, rather than appreciating what you do. In the three years that have passed, I have also gotten a job, learned how to drive, and experienced romantic love for the first time. I don’t have as many friends, but the ones I do have actually care for and respect me. I don’t have as much time, but when I do get the chance to have fun, I enjoy these moments to the fullest extent. I am not the same person I was at 14, but that is not a bad thing. If anything, I would be concerned if I did not change.

As I get older, I will continue to grow and mature. It is simply a part of life. Going forward, I hope that I can reflect on my past and learn from it, rather than destroy my present over it.

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