September 21, 2012 - submitted by Rita, Lebanon

I was bored the other day, so I went back and read some old emails I had sent about 2 years ago, read old forum posts I'd written, listened to some music I liked back then... and I realized that 17 year old me and 19 year old me are 2 different people. I changed so much; I barely recognized myself in those songs. I need to ask if this keeps happening as you get older? Because it's absolutely terrifying. I don't want to look back in a couple of years and hate or be embarrassed by myself. Do people keep changing so much or is it to a lesser extent?

The Oracle replies:

Never look back and be embarrassed; it’s part of growing, learning and finding your way.
Maturity develops over time so we’re bound to grow up. I look back and laugh at photos where the fashion and hairstyles are so different. On the other hand, yes, I freely admit I can cringe at my behaviour when I reflect but I also think it must have helped shape who I am today.
Some people remain the same and some people go through changes. I fall into the latter category and I’d hope that for the most part that was for the greater good.
I have to say I had some control of how, what, why made those changes occur as sometimes I had to change but there’s not wrong with change if it means you are developing as a person. It can make you more rounded, more whole and perhaps even a better person if you use the changes wisely. As long as that’s not a bad thing, take the changes in your stride.
In the meantime make decisions that will make you look back and smile.
Over to you.

Everyone goes through change, it's not a bad thing! It would be much worse to go through life having not changed at all. There's no need to be embarrassed by your past. You acted on things that interested you, and there's no shame in that because it's what you wanted at that time in your life. This of course depends on the severity of your actions, but something as minute as your musical preference shouldn't get you so worrysome. Instead of looking back at who you were, look forward to the person you want to become. Warm regards, Blake.

Of course you can change as you get older – I know I have in some ways. When I look back on some things and what I used to like, I am baffled at how different I was back then. Change can be a good thing though, so don’t worry! Most of the things I remember about my old self, I just laugh at now – so it’s more funny and light memories, and not really painful or tough ones. Your interests and taste in music may have changed, but that doesn’t mean you as a person have. It’s important to have a good and healthy relationship with yourself, so long as you maintain that, I don’t think you’ll have anything to hate or feel embarrassed about in the future. Lots of people like some things growing up and then something completely different later on in life. I believe that it’s totally normal for people to change a bit, so don’t be afraid of that. Just be happy, be positive and be yourself! Best wishes, Medina.

You've done something many people are not able to or don't want to: you have looked back in reflexion and critcism of yourselves.That's a skill.
Don't forget the 'healing' aspects of arts, fashion and so on.With things in our surrounding we can create something like a compensation or protection for our soul's state.Especially a teenager has to go through a lot we all know.So when you're through suddenly clothes don't have to be black,walls not blue or music not the same anymore e.g., our complete expression might modify.So don't worry about changing in those things, it's natural. Better observe changes in your evaluation of values, your opinion what is right or wrong. I guess you're on a right way. L.Q.

Yes, people keep changing but I prefer to use 'evolving'. You learned new things, you met new people, you experienced new things - you evolved. You are still yourself but enriched. You should not hate or be embarrassed by yourself when you look back - what you did two/ten/twenty years ago has huge impact on who you are now - this is important part of you.
I think more important is if you are feeling good with yourself now and if you are happy. If yes it means that you are in the right place at the right time. Magdalena.

Coming from a 17 year old, I can grasp your understanding of personal change. If that two year change was that horrifying, that can only mean that you have significantly grown and matured in such a way that it has benefited you by looking at your past actions—whether good or bad--and recognizing your mistakes. Although I'm not familiar with your culture, in the United States, the ages between 17 and 20 are the "coming of age" where it bridges you to the adult world, taking responsibilities and idealistically, a career. It's the time where you discover your identity in the world. You’re at that stage where you’d notice yourself in the past and wonder why you weren’t a little wiser. Obviously you've gone through a change and chances are it may continue. It may even have been a transformation. But that’s part of life. Of course you’re going to hate your past self but it’s all growth. You’re going to make mistakes but my advice is to have no regrets. I believe that in your case, something this drastic won’t occur sometime soon. Just take a breath and be content for where you are now. We learn and grow everyday so don’t fret, ok?
Just to end with this: A simple plot. But I know one thing. Good things, are coming your way. Best of Luck, Liku.

In your life, you will live through many events, and those events will change you, or you will change because of the impact of those events. When I look back on the person I was a few years ago, I was much different than I am now. You shouldn't be embarrassed by the person you used to be, because change can be for the better and you didn't know then what you know now. I think we change more rapidly when we're younger because we're still discovering who we are and trying to find the person we want to be. The important thing is that you like who you are and where you're going and that you don't lose yourself along the way. Bleier, U.S.

People change all the time, sometimes for good sometimes for bad. But it’s how you change how it makes a difference. I know very well how my music taste had change as I had, but that’s because I’m young, and so are you. Maybe you are just finding yourself and on the way, you can find different ways to be or think and when you discovered your real personality. There will be one day when you probably regret for something you did but it’s much worst to regret to something you didn’t do so you should live the moment but worry about the future too. What I’m trying to say is that there’s no one in the world that hasn’t change. There is always something that changes our minds about something else and before you can’t tell you think in a complete different way. But that’s ok. I am sure your friends are not who they used to be 3 years ago, but that doesn’t make them bad people. Changing is ok, but in the end, you are the very same person you were at the beginning. Be yourself, Lyssete.

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