Goodbye 25 Year Old Me
Freshly graduated, recently heartbroken and out as a gay man. This is My Story.
Growing up can be scary. During the early teenage years, we all go through pubertal changes in our lives. For me, those days were met with uncertainties and discoveries of new things about myself, like the physical changes in my body and mental questionings about my own identity. But those teenage years were also a time when I was still sheltered from the trials and tribulations of adulthood and many of those issues I faced were shared similarly across the youths of my age. Because of that, the teenage issues that I had were cushioned by the people around me, and hence I felt that my teenage years weren’t really that hard to pull through.
But nothing has ever hit me as hard as the 25th year of my life.
As I turned 26 and look back at the year before it, those memories were marked with many new beginnings while I embarked on my journey towards adulthood. Thinking back, I felt as though I went through a second puberty from a boy to a man once again. With lessons learnt and new challenges faced, the adventure of self-discovery has finally made me get a taste of what life has to offer.
Firstly, I graduated from university. After four full years of university plus an additional add-on year staying back for a failed module, I finally managed to throw my square cap in the air and relish the educational milestone with my family.
With that, it meant that I could no longer be the free-spirited young self whom was able to not give a damn about life. I remember vividly during my university days, when I could skip weeks of classes just to play computer games at home and the only consequence to face was the little regret I had when my grades came.
Now as an adult, we no longer get the benefit of fooling around and wasting time away sleeping through days and play through late nights.
The beginning of work life for me meant that real adult responsibilities have begun. Managing my own income and expenses, focusing on my fitness, and discovering my personal interests. I think right now is the time when I have truly started to delve seriously into what I really want in life.
Then, I had my first relationship heartbreak. I am grateful to have been in love with someone who gave me the chance to experience how it was like to fall in love and pour my heart out to another human being. Although the relationship was just four months, but those times were filled with passion and excitement.
Looking back, I can honestly say that I have never ever gave so much of myself to another person and only to lose myself along the way. I guess that is the beauty of love after all right? By being vulnerable and opening our hearts to love, it makes us all the more human. And it was this full intensity of love that I got myself into the pain and hurt of a breakup.
It came one fine day out of the blue, when the words “I no longer love you” was said to me, and it was at that moment that I realized falling in love is such a beautiful thing. Because there are only so few things in life that can trigger that amount of pain in the heart, and from that point on I was catapulted into all the breakup stages: denial, confusion, agony, sadness and closure.
Although our lives have parted ways, I do not regret a single moment that was had together. In fact, I took away so much life lessons from the relationship that it has made me so much more than who I am before. I am pretty confident that I came out stronger than the man I was before I got into the relationship.
Finally, I came out as a gay man. Circumstances have made me decide to come out of the closet and be true to who I am to those around me. It was fortunate for me that the coming out journey had been a relatively smooth sailing one with my family and friends.
It was the relationship that I had with my ex-boyfriend, added together with the anxieties of starting work-life that made me take the leap forward. This experience has liberated me with the way I can finally live my life. But not only that, the journey of self-discovery and living my life as an openly gay man in Singapore has only just started from here.
Leaving my past discreet self behind, now is the time where new challenges arise in my relationships with the people who once knew me as a different man. Coming out is a continuous journey and I am excited to take on this newfound adventure.
Through these moments that life has given me, I have learnt some great lessons along the way:
Face every new obstacle as a challenge in time
Struggles will be thrown at us at every turn of our lives. Relationships can come to an end, friends may disappear, work may have its low points. Despite the challenges of growing up and becoming an adult, we must always stay strong and face our issues head on. Life brings these moments of trepidation to us for a reason — to train ourselves to become better versions of our past selves.
With each learning experience, it makes us more well versed in dealing with similar experiences in the future. Thus it should always be seen as a welcoming opportunity when a new challenge comes into our life.
Most importantly, we should always have a strong support system and stick to what we believe in. Because as long as we stay true to our values and work hard to get over the problem, it will eventually pass.
It is okay to become vulnerable but learn to move on
When life does not go the way we expected, it makes us emotional. We expose ourselves to emotional turmoil learning to face the reality of the situation. We put our guard down to new relationships only to become alone once again when the relationship ends.
Loving a person makes us vulnerable and it can feel scary to take that risk. But it is through this vulnerability where we expose ourselves to our own self-discovery. Learning to embrace this emotional vulnerability makes us stronger and wounds will eventually heal.
We should always keep our hearts open to new possibilities, and the same time cherish every moment of life while it lasts, because some things in life happen beyond our control.
Life should be uncomfortable
The moment we tell ourselves that we feel comfortable, are we then still truly happy? Comfort leads to boredom eventually and we should never let ourselves fall into the temptation of comfort. Always take on new challenges and brave on a new fight for self-improvement. Nothing should come easily because we must always be challenging ourselves with something new.
Go travel alone in a far away country. Learn a new language. Take up a new interest or set a new goal.
Even relationships should not become comfortable. Because when that happens, we let things be cool down and eventually the happiness ends.