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Author Topic: Be yourself? (a landmark)
Eruve Nandiriel
Member # 5677

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I was planning to write a deep, meaningful landmark about myself. But as usual, I procrastinated, and then I was too busy to write it. (I actually meant to post this yesterday on my birthday, but I'm a few hours too late.) I guess I'll just have to wing it. [Wink]

We've all heard the saying "Be Yourself", and it's a great message, only there's one problem. How can you be yourself if you don't really know who you are?

I've always been really shy and quiet around people. I had trouble making friends, because I wasn't the outgoing type. I was chubby, and felt insecure. I got to the point where I would cry myself to sleep because I hated myself so much.

But this all changed about two years ago. I finally decided to do something about it. I started a diet (a healthy one, I didn't starve myself or anything like that), and lost about 20 pounds. I started purposely trying to be more outgoing. I would smile at people and say "hi", when before I would just disappear in a corner. I got a job working at a game store, and I think that was one of the best things that happened to me. Not only could I smile and be nice to complete strangers, but I could actually enjoy an interesting conversation, too. I felt so much better about myself after losing weight, and I was much more confident. I even had some guys flirt with me, which had never happened to me before.

So at this point I felt better about myself, but I still had no idea where I was going with my life. When I was little, I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up. A veterinarian, a pilot, a "stuntwoman", an artist, and more that I can't remember. But I think the one I really considered was being a writer, and that was what I was leaning towards when I started high school. However, I wasn't sure and I wasn't planning on going to college. I figured, why waste the money if I don't know what I want to do?

Joining the robotics* team in my junior year was a big turning point in my life. I joined the team thinking I could help design t-shirts, or posters, because I had no idea how to do all that "technical stuff". But I quickly realized that the other kids didn't know what they were doing (I actually knew more than most of them), and we were all learning. It didn’t take long before I was getting involved with the hands-on, mechanical stuff, and I helped to build most of the robot. I found that I just love seeing something come from a vague idea in my head, to a real, tangible, working object! I decided I want to be an engineer. I am about to start at Clemson, a really good engineering school, in the fall to study Mechanical Engineering. I’m really excited about this new point in my life! It’s such a great feeling to actually have a direction in life, instead of wandering around aimlessly!

I’ve learned that I’ll never completely know who I am. I’ll always be learning about myself, and I’ll always be changing. So I dedicate this landmark to 4000 posts, graduating high school, turning 18, starting college, and finding a direction.

(*If you don't know about robotics from me and Desdemona yet, thier website is here. )

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Congrats on learning that you are destined to be a professional nerd. [Smile]
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Congrats on 4000, graduation, and beginning college, Eruve. [Smile] (I already wished you happy birthday.)

I've decided that the trouble with figuring out who I am, is that it's very difficult to hit a moving target.

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You see, most people figure that by age X they will know what they will want to be. Then age X comes, and they figure "Well, I don't know, but I probably will soon, by Y next Z...."

Life often throws us curves, and a lot of people don't see them coming. Some of them are good curves, like you finding out you love engineering. Some are bad, like deaths in the family or illness.

But most are a mix of both. Having a child is a beautiful thing, but countless people have found out they were having one at the WRONG time for all their dreams to become reality. I am not saying that having that child isn't rewarding, or even that most of those people regret it, I am just saying that quite often it comes unplanned.

Marriage is a beginning, not an ending. Having a child, finding a career, these are things that a lot of people see as a problem when they are younger, or at least see them as difficulties. Sure, they often are difficult, but they don't END who you are, and they aren't the end all be all of who you become either.

I had so many people tell me when I was getting married that they wanted to make sure they had their fun before committing. I love that the joke is on them...I have had more fun, and enjoyed myself more, while married than I ever did single.

I guess my point is that you should always be open to new ideas, and never assume that one day you will "grow up" and suddenly your life will make sense. It only makes sense to you if you MAKE it make sense, if you find a reason to live within yourself that makes you happy. So many things that people are afraid of are GOOD things, things to anticipate, that it makes me happy to be alive every single day.

I wish I had not spent so much time avoiding the very things I love today.

BTW, Happy B-Day, too!

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Whatever you do, don't let anyone tell you your goals are invalid.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. A stay-home mother. My mom is very much a feminist (in the old sense of the word, mostly), and she has always kind of said in not so many words that that is not a good goal.

So I never told her that was my goal. And I eventually learned to live with the fact that yes, I'm comfortable working with kids in other situations, but really, I want to have my own kids, lots of them, and be a mother full-time, at least until they're out of the house.

She has the good grace not to mention it, at least. (Except for the occasional dig about when she was my age, she was in school.)

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That's wonderful, Eru. [Smile]

Congrats on the engineering school, your birthday, and 4000 posts! And the things I probably missed congratulating you on.

Stick around for a while, it's really great having you around the place. I'm glad I got to know you through Hatrack.

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Eruve, and now you can finally get to make that t-shirt. It should say:

It's all about ME!

(mechanical engineering, of course)

Congratulations. This is truly wonderful and inspiring.

If only our school boards would learn of stories like yours they might decide that funding some of those nerdy activities is at least of importance "on par" with the football team.

Great landmark.

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Excellent post, Eruve. And inspiring. I think I'll have my son read it.

Congrats on your decision and acceptance to Clemson. Very impressive.


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I'm always amazed at the ages of people in this forum. That's a lot of enlightenment for an 18-year-old. Good luck, Eruve.

What you learned about your fellow students' knowledge of robotics is what you'll find even among adults who research a topic their entire lives. We know so little in the big scheme of things. There are right answers, but mostly there are just questions. When I figured that out, school became much more fun.

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Eruve, how cool! Robotics is teh awesome! I got a chance to do lots of Mechanical Engineering type stuff in one of my jobs, and it was very fun! I love playing with machinery, don't you? It's so much fun when it works right and does what it's supposed to do. It's even more fun when you designed it. My machines and systems are sort of like my children. I love to see them thrive and be useful and loved. <laughed> I think maybe God feels the same way about his creations, and that's one small way in which we can be like Him. [Smile]
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Happy Brithday and best of luck at Clemson!
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