Personal Growth… overrated?

Anyone that knows me has seen a lot of evolution in me, especially in the last twelve months or so.

Going back to school (in March 2011) had a lot to do with that change. It reawakened pieces of my soul that had long been dormant: my thirst for knowledge, for challenge, for discussion–all of it was reignited the first day I stepped into the classroom.

I adored school. I relished the purpose and the regimen it gave my life. I discovered a love for writing that I had long forgotten after high school. I was so addicted to education that I waited only two months after finishing my [second!] Bachelor’s degree and diving into a Master’s program in January 2014.

As a result of this newly discovered consciousness and tenacious pursuit for academic knowledge and growth, I’ve also gone through a major emotional revolution.

The dreamer in me sought reality. The proselytizer in me sought to better understand my challengers. The optimist in me… became a realist.

Perhaps the pendulum swings a bit closer to a pessimist some days.

With reflection and exploration . . . came cynicism. With introspection came . . . selfishness?

For all the personal and academic growth, I also developed some behaviors and patterns I never had before. I’m less patient than I used to be. I’m more critical, quick to question the surface value of both things and people. Worst of all, I am selfish: I make decisions based on my goals, my wants, my needs. I was never this way before.

For all the valuable gains I made in my education, I became a less likeable person.

Yes, now I’m real. But was the former version of me less real?

Was being happy, was seeing the good in every person and thing I encountered, truly a bad thing? Was wearing a smile and putting other people first as much as possible really a negative? Am I better now than I was before?

I’m not sure.

I rarely felt sad before I went back to school. I rarely felt disappointed, depressed, or otherwise unhappy. I woke most days with joy in my heart and pep in my step. The more I learn – the more critical my perception of the world – the less pleasure I find in it.

Is the unexamined life truly not worth living?

Perhaps I’m just in a bad head space, but I’m really questioning everything today. I’m not sure I really like myself anymore. I used to, I really did. Bad days were rare. Whimsy was abundant. Happiness was a way of life.

For the past few months … I’ve lost touch with my joy. I want it back. I need it back.

Or maybe I just need a vacation.

~ Victoria Elizabeth



2 thoughts on “Personal Growth… overrated?

  1. Unfortunately, or for the better, you sound like a writer, an artist, so one who wants to excel not against other people but against herself. Yes, what Faulkner said, be better than yourself. That means life be examined, so you determine how to make yourself better.
    Is there a downside to this life? Certainly, but being free and using the freedom is extraordinary.
    I would be patient with your current state of mind.


    • Michael,

      Thank you for your kind and sagacious comment. I knew when I signed up for school that challenging myself would lead to change, change would lead to evolution, and evolution would result in a new and improved version of my “self.” I’ll focus on finding patience (and balance!) in the long term; for the short term, I’ll use all of this melancholy and self-reflection as inspiration for poetry and short stories! 🙂

      Be well, my friend!
      ~ Victoria Elizabeth


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