Returning to where I was and seeing who I left behind... (Introspection)
I'm in the UK at the moment and, while I'm here to visit and have a change of scenery it's also been useful for some reflection.
I did a bit of research before I flew back, I looked up old friends and I tried to get in contact with everyone I wanted to see, I also looked up people who I hadn't thought about, to see what they were up to. A lot of my friends I haven't seen for a long time, due to two years in Prague and even before that I would very irregularly see people. Some people are in the same place they were, their aspirations maybe switched to somethig that would appear more attainable, or they're stuck in a comfortable rut, finding it easier to not challenge themselves and living a life of fulfilling unfulfilment.
Look, it's different when you never really had any big dreams to begin with, but it feels, to me, like some people have simply given up.
I contacted a few of these people who appear to have progressed very little and, strangely I didn't get a response from most of them. I still like these people a lot, in some cases I really would have loved to catch up, but I'm a memory from a past that is long gone to them. I believe people like me, but I've never really made any meaningful connections with people I met in the last 9 or so years. The majority of my adult relationships in the UK were collegues, student pals or casual acquaintances. The best friends I have in England are people I met during school or college, and I only see them once every few years, but it always feels entirely satisfying to see them.
The funny thing is, the people who legitimately have lives, have success and are busy have put aside time to see me, whereas those who haven't moved past that same hurdle are stuck behind it and couldn't bring themselves to even reply in some cases.
I walked through my old school yesterday, then the town in London where the majority of my formative teen years took place. I managed to bump into my old history teacher Mrs Beresford, a wonderful woman and the only reason I passed History GCSE, she hadn't aged a bit and she was genuinely very happy to see me (once I reminded her who I was). It was when I was talking to her and some of her students I realised how far I had come. I was a strange boy, with issues coming out of my ears and a complete rejection of authority (within reason), and now I'm the guy people like to spend time with, with a wonderful boyfriend, a dog, a burgeoning career of my own making, and I live in Prague. It's weird, but it feels right. I love who I am now, and those halls that smelt the same - with a few differences obviously - are still there. It's where I came from, but it's not where I belong.
Success isn't quantified by how much you do, but by how proud you are of yourself in anything you do. If you spend time shying away from people because they have made more of themselves than you might have, then you're ashamed of yourself and you really shouldn't be.
Don't be ashamed of yourself, be proud of what you're doing with your life, even if it's not quite what or where you imagined it would be.