I can unequivocally say that in the past three years I have become more confident, mature and motivated. I have also become more aware of myself and of my surroundings. Perhaps such things come naturally with the university experience, but I honestly believe it's more that my lifestyle reflects and has enhanced qualities that I already possessed. In any case, I have surmounted obstacles both big and small and I now feel that I am an independent young man willing to take on any challenge.
However, I must admit that, somewhere during the last three years, I have lost sight of many of the things that made me happy. After great efforts to make myself into a versatile, educated person, I have forgotten many of the simple things in life that make it worth living. To an extent, it seems like I've rid myself of almost all of the aspects of the "old me" in search of a new identity, without taking into account how those old aspects have defined me.
Part of this has to do with being away from home and family. I was slightly sad recently when my cousins were having their graduation parties and I realized that I couldn't just hop in my car and be there in 15 minutes to see people, eat and bullshit anymore. I also no longer have the ability to just walk into the garden and pick a pepper or cucumber or tomato to eat, much less walk into grandma and grandpa's house and expect to have a home-cooked meal or slice of pie "forced" on me.
Another, larger, part of my losing sight of things is that I've been too wrapped up in studying and working. Rather than keep a decent balance between school, work, play and self-improvement, I've tended mostly towards school and work, only focusing on the latter two when there's extra time. This last semester I tried to find more of an even balance, worrying much less about my studies, and lo and behold, my GPA stayed at about the same level. But I still really miss having someone to do nothing with. When I lived in the Residencia, Peter was always an IM or short walk down the hall away if I ever wanted to kick around a ball or toss a frisbee or just go get a bite to eat. Now it takes quite a bit of effort to get people together to do anything but have a party. Never before had I had a constant, easygoing male companion who was always willing to hang out, and in a strange way, I'm afraid that I never will again.
Beyond reflection, this summer has been one of changes and goals. I've tried to get myself out of my serious student mentality and into a more relaxed state of mind. With the help of Andres, Jorge, Irene and others, I was largely able to forget all of the things I usually worry about and focus on enjoying the here and now. Unfortunately, since they've all returned to Spain, there's been a bit of a void in my social life. I've tried hard to establish a habit of spending time with certain people, but our schedules always seem to conflict. My problem is that I was always too independent and now, particularly when it comes to being physically active, I realize that I really do rely on others for motivation and enjoyment. I have set lofty goals for myself this summer, but without the right people to back me up, any aspiration now seems difficult to attain.
Maybe these worries are only temporary. Maybe it's not too late to make the best of the time I have left here. Or maybe I just need to stop thinking so damn much and just focus on the things that really matter.