Like any true "Gossip Girl" fan, I watched Serena Vanderwoodsen take the streets of New York City religiously. Everything she seemed to do was flawless, along with the fact that she basically owned the Upper East Side. As the show went on, Serena's dark past was revealed. Not only was it a new side to our queen, but it gave her an edge, a bad side. The problem with wanting to know Serena's past, however, was the fact that it changed my opinions of her. The girl I thought was independent and innocent was a mess of a teenager. I began to question who Serena was as a person, as the writers of the show intended. The only problem was that if I judged a fictional character on her past, that meant I did the same to others, maybe even myself.

This brings up the point that the past should stay behind us. Who we were and who we are, are not necessarily mirror images of each other. People change over time. They realize what type of person they want to be and adjust. To judge someone on their past is an unfair measurement. This isn't to say that caution shouldn't be taken based on their previous choices, but so long as they have dealt with the consequences of their actions and made changes accordingly, there's a chance they reinvented themselves. People like S want a second chance. They work toward a future they'll be proud of, and still, get dragged down by the past they'll forever regret.

Being human means making mistakes, even if that means knowing you're making a mistake as you do it. It's not the best way to go about living, but it's the only way we can learn. Serena decided that who she was and the things she did shouldn't affect her future anymore. We can all live like that. The biggest issue is when we let our pasts dictate our futures because ultimately, we can't travel back in time. What's done is done and there's no way to change it. The only option is to change who you are and to change your next decision. Serena did everything in her power to keep the past behind her. Sometimes the consequences of her actions caught up with her, but she dealt with them. The fact is that no matter how horrible and chaotic S was in the past, she couldn't change it, and she'd have to live with that.

Becoming who you are isn't always a clear path. Many times it doesn't even have a good view. The importance of forgiving yourself for the things you've done is to make room for potential you have once you ditch your baggage. We only have so much time in our lives to be out living it, so instead of facing the past and all the horrors you can no longer change, focus on the future and the way you want to live. Serena decided enough was enough. Her past may have hurt her reputation but it didn't stop her from growing and moving forward.