When did you become you?

Hi, i’m Hannah. I’m a 25 year-old London-dweller who loves cats and plants very much. My favourite foods are pizza and pasta, although I almost never allow myself to eat them, and my day job involves me knowing an awful lot about pensions. I have a boyfriend of three and a bit years, and I moan about the cost of living more than I moan about anything else. I like to talk about politics and take photos of pretty people, places and objects. One day I hope to live in a beautiful, sunny place, with my boyfriend, my sixteen cats, and my umpteen breeds of tropical plant. Jury’s still out on kids. Wbu?

Ten years ago I wonder how much of that was true. Of course i’ve always loved cats, pizza and pasta, but i’d never have guessed i’d be a financial journalist, nor that the love of my life was born in a town in Latvia and that we’d bond over a game of beer pong while blackout drunk at a party to honour to Scots choosing to remain a part of the UK (true story). I always dreamt of moving to London because I never loved the town I grew up in, but as i got older, I began to wonder how realistic that dream was.

Yes, ten years ago I was a very different person to the girl typing this today. I was 15, and I suppose I was going through my “rebellious” stage, although to be honest I was never much of a rebel, I just liked drinking in parks from time to time, but who doesn’t at that age? I was still at school, paying little to no attention whatsoever to my education. I had dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress (lol), and when I wasn’t getting pissed in a field, I was probably playing The Sims, which, in fairness, is still my favourite video game of all time. The most fundamental changes have happened in my head. Sometimes I wonder if i’m unique here, or actually if, like me, most people look back at their younger selves and barely recognise the face staring back at them.

working hard or hardly working
Maths class circa 2009? Working hard, or hardly working?

I just wasn’t happy growing up. Life often felt overwhelming and sad. Everything I wanted felt so out of reach, and so many day-to-day things were such a battle. I’d change my mind constantly on what I thought was right or wrong and what I wanted. I suppose I felt very lost. In a way, my personality felt almost chameleon-like, i’d pick up on what those around me were doing and saying and morph into them, until i’d hang with someone else and decide to be like them instead.

This went on for years and years. I can’t pinpoint exactly when this broad unhappiness began, but I know it lasted my entire teenage life and into my early adult years. On top of everything else, an incredibly destructive relationship then knocked me for six, and I was left wondering what on earth I was doing or who I was. That may sound a little dramatic, but this is why, when I say I can’t recognise myself a decade ago, I really mean it.

my hair is still the same
I may have changed, but my hair certainly hasn’t 
bacardi breezers
Were you even a teenage Brit if you didn’t knock back Bacardi Breezers, Lambrini and WKDs?

Going to university was definitely a turning point. I managed to get myself together and nab a place at a pretty decent university, and when the time came to move in to my first student flat, I could not have been more eagar. I was desperate to leave everything behind, and as soon as i’d moved to university, a weight left my shoulders. I just felt different. I was much lighter, much calmer, suddenly I laughed all the time and I genuinely just felt happy. I began to open my eyes to the world around me, to learn more about myself and about others, and it was fantastic. Things like creativity were encouraged, and being yourself was a good thing. That’s really when Hannah, the plant-loving, sun-worshipping, cat-admiring gal, began to form. That is when I started to become me.

It’s no surprise that we all change the older we get, thank God we don’t all think and behave the same as when we were teens. I also don’t want to make out like every moment of my teenage years was some sort of God-awful gut-wrenching ordeal; I have a lot of funny memories with some truly wonderful people who are still firmly in my life, and probably will be until the day one of us drops dead.

thumbs up

I don’t know if i’m unique here or if this is very common. Perhaps I was depressed but just never knew it, perhaps university provided some sort of acceptance and I really was just able flourish as myself, I really don’t know, all I know is that I feel like a different person, alien, in fact.

I’m still changing and growing; only this year i’ve seen massive changes in myself, but that’s a conversation for a whole other blog post. I suppose what I’m trying to say is, I finally feel like i’m on the right track. The core ‘Hannah’ is there now, whereas perhaps other people started forming when they were younger, I just look a little longer to get around to it.    

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