Eight-Year-Old Me

Two girls walking down the street in Chicago in the summer with backpacks Photo : Alanna Bagladi

Change has been a constant fear of mine throughout my whole life. Whenever I detect even an ounce of change coming my way, my anxiety gets the best of me and hinders my ability to accept how life is going to be different. Whether it was the transition from high school to college, from being in a relationship to singledom, or moving into a new apartment, anxiety has always been knocking at my door restricting my being able to absorb (and enjoy) the full experience.

I’m on the brink of being a college graduate, so I am currently encountering one of the biggest changes in my life. Almost every aspect of my life is being altered, including my identity. I will no longer identify as a college student living in a rad apartment in the city, but instead a fully employed adult living at home.

The anticipation leading up to this monumental moment of my life has not been easy. Each year I became closer to graduation, the anxiety got a little bit more intense, and the pressure sometimes became unbearable. Ever since I was a little girl I wondered what I would be when I grew up, and as I kept getting closer and closer to “adulting” with still no clue what I wanted to do, it scared me. Eight-year-old me would have never thought I would end up as a Marketing Administrator and not a princess.

The biggest change of my life is right around the corner, and while I’ve been anxious about this moment for years, I am capriciously calm. It seems as if all the anxiety I have previously encountered about life-changing events has instead been preparing me for one of the largest shifts in life I will ever experience.

All of the anxiety I had previously felt disabled me to see the most important thing about change: new beginnings. When high school ended, and I went to college, I focused on every negative aspect I could find, such as not seeing my friends anymore and having to get used to a new day-to-day routine. What I had not realized was that I would make new, lifelong friends. I would begin to have freedom, learn how to live on my own, and make the wrong decisions but then later learn from them. With this new life I have quickly approaching me, I am finally looking forward to the good things that are yet to come and trying my hardest to not dwell on the negative.

It seems as if there has been a change in the way I experience change, and that is the one I am most grateful for. All of the anxiety leading me up to the day I became an adult has slowly diminished into a desire to succeed. A desire to take all of the times my anxiety has held me back and channel it into being the best version of myself I could be.

After embracing this change, I now identify as a twenty-two-year-old, college educated, strong woman who isn’t scared of change, but instead accepts it. And even though I didn’t end up as a princess, I know eight-year-old me would be damn proud of the woman I have become.

Mia Dadian: Van Gogh lover, cat enthusiast, and a little too addicted to iced coffee. Usually found with her head in a book or a pen in her hand, snuggled next to her cat.