This is a response to "Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older"
Ever since I was little, I always felt different from my peers. I can't tell you exactly the feelings that I felt unless you switched places with me, but as I have gotten older I am learning to embrace my truest self.
In my elementary school days, I started to feel this "different" feeling. I always felt older than my years. It was like I was looking down at my younger self but recognizing that everyone around me was very young and innocent. Even though I enjoyed a lot of the same hobbies as my peers like playing outside, watching Disney Channel movies, and playing board games, I always felt this nagging tug on my shoulder that made me feel different.
I think what contributed to being different was my quest for learning and understanding how things worked. Throw in my highly empathetic personality, philosophical nature, and genuine care for others, and you had a kid that was not the typical aloof child.
While kids my age watched a lot of Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, I was invested in shows like How It's Made, Survivorman, Man vs. Wild, Ghost Hunters, Mythbuster's and Dirty Jobs. I craved learning something new and a lot of these shows opened my eyes to how much there actually was to discover.
At the library, while most kids picked fiction, fantasy, and adventure to read, I found myself most drawn to the non-fiction section. The science books were my favorite. Books on insects, dogs, cats, marine life, and other biological creatures allowed me to nerd out and learn how things worked. I wanted to understand why things were the way they were at a very young age and how we all ended up here. I questioned my purpose here early on and wanted to understand the deeper meaning of life.
My music choice was also older. Growing up on 70's and 80's music, I preferred classic artists compared to what was trending or the usual hits my friends listened to. If anything, my collection has only grown for the older genres now.
In social settings, I was shy and had a hard time relating to other kids my age. But one thing was true, the friends I had, I cared for deeply and strived to be the best friend that I could to them. I took in their problems, worries, dreams, rants, and offered the best advice I could. I was not one to tell much about my personal life and boast a lot of negativity, but rather be the positive helper, the rock. Looking back, I frequently felt like a sponge, soaking up everyones problems and not really giving myself time to release the extra weight I carried on my back for so many people.
Fast forward to today, I feel deeply the same that I did when I was younger, but it has manifested in different ways in the adult world. To be honest, I don't like to call myself an "old soul", because most times when people say that they aren't and are looking for something to blatantly categorize themselves as. But, what I can say is that instead of calling myself an old soul, I feel I am wise beyond my years from what others have said. I have been like this since middle school. Whether its relationships, life advice, family issues, or something else, I am there to be a listening ear and offer the best help I can. People still come to me for advice no matter what age they are. I also just seem to click better with adults and seniors in general.
I suffer with people my age not getting my witty sarcasm, lacking the curiosity to dive into deep topics, and banter philosophical ideas. Everyone is drawn into a virtual reality that plays out on their phone furthering the lack of enthusiasm I have for many people around me today. Creativity seems to be lost. Curiosity seems to be lost.
This recently happened with a group of friends that came over to watch The Bachelor. For the first time in awhile, I felt different and out of place. Every time I spoke up about something more informative, or not related to the convo that pertained to what was playing out on screen, people got quiet and no one had any relevant response to what I had said. I noticed as well that no one took the time to genuinely listen to what I was saying and instead, were eager to hear themselves talk, which I found exhausting and kept me pretty quiet the rest of the evening. It is important to ask questions and be a true active listener in a conversation, that is how you learn more. When people don't always ask questions, they might miss out on some really good information that challenges people to explore ideas beyond their current knowledge.
I am writing this to share my story and hopefully connect with others that feel the same. We are all unique, but the itch I have felt for feeling different has stayed with me through all stages of life. What we can do is continue to grow and be the best versions of ourselves. Being the best version of ourselves is when we are being our truest selves and with that, I wont change for anyone.