Nash Doud, Lancaster PA

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Nash Doud, Lancaster PA

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I think it’s important to mention that the person I am today is not the person I used to be. Throughout my life, there have been trials and tribulations that have come and gone. I can say that these hardships have influenced and changed my demeanor.

Back when I was a child, my life was full of adventure. We lived in an area that was surrounded by trees, but our closest neighbor was still about an acre away. I remember running through our small forest and picking up sticks as if they were swords. My imagination flourished in such an environment and having two sisters and a brother allowed for more fun. This went on for years and I’m so thankful I never gave up my imaginative play. However, being happy and engaged in my own fantasy world came to an abrupt halt when I reached my middle school years.

There were so many changes happening in all respects to my body. My thought process was being altered by new hormones and an unexplainable attraction to girls. I was no longer concerned with imagination and the pretend, but instead, the real world. If you haven’t noticed, the real world can be a depressing place. I was now focusing on how I behaved, how I looked, and what others were doing. To be honest I was disgusted with all of it. I hated the way my new hormones were making me behave, I hated the way I looked, and further more I couldn’t believe what others were doing.

Within two years, “play” went being about running around at recess to having conversations about adult affairs. I didn’t want to be consumed by it, as it took center stage in most of my friends lives. Realizing all of this, I found myself slowly becoming depressed. This could also be the hormones fluctuating, but regardless I went from being an extremely happy child to a sad teenager. I thought this was it. This is how life becomes when you start to grow up, and then high school happened.

Even though my freshman year started off in a new exciting place, my feelings were the same. I had dreams and goals from my childhood that I tucked away as I prepared for the real world. I had everything mapped out. I was going to participate in the vocational tech program and be a certified carpenter, ready to work, by the time I graduated. I thought it was the perfect idea. I’d get out of school for half the year. But those were my plans, not the plan that had been laid out before me.

After two months into my freshman year I met one of my best friends and most influential person in my life. We shared many deep conversations about life and what it meant to us. At first, I was unfamiliar with looking inward towards myself and seeing what most of us ignore. He asked me hard questions that forced me to look deep inside and I’m very thankful he did. Not many of us ask the hard questions and try to find the answers as to why we do things. He did. All the time. And eventually I stopped saying, “I don’t know why I did that.” Or “I don’t know why that makes me upset.” And I started answering the questions, “It makes me upset because I don’t want to live in a world where people are consumed by their impulses.” Eventually I adopted this way of thinking and became very in sync with my subconscious and was able to understand myself on such a deeper level.

Now, six years later, because I have a better understanding of myself, I am able to understand others better. When friends or loved ones approach me about the problems they have in their life, I ask them questions and try to figure out why they feel the way they do. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t like what they see when they look at themselves in the metaphorical mirror. Who wants to be reminded of how imperfect they really are? But when a person finally looks inward and doesn’t try to cover up what they see, or rationalize their behavior, they will begin to make changes.

It took me a few years to rediscover myself. I locked that young imaginative spirit away for what I thought I needed to be. Only you know what makes you special and only you can share that with the world. If you seek the truth it will set you free.

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