A year ago, I decided that Nathan 1.0 wasn’t cutting it. Therefore, to get me out of my comfort zone, I joined a group known as Homeschool Alumni. I decided at that point, that I would work on Nathan 2.0, who would be more social, less socially inept, and would have more friends – of a variety of persuasions and opinions. Joining a new group gave me a chance to start over, to rewrite my social “programming”, so-to-speak, and build a social life based upon a much more solid foundation.
That is exactly what happened. I jumped from approximately 1-3 friends my own age to about 30-40. The best thing is, they are not all homeschooled, have come from different backgrounds, exist in different social circles, hold to different standards, and some of them aren’t Christian. I’m proud to call all of them my friends.
Not only that, but I intend to keep them – all of them, if possible. There’s this annoying saying that’s been going around that goes like this, “You will not always have your friends, but you will always have your family”. It annoys me because it doesn’t have to be like that. Family will not always be around, as my dad has found out with his family. It is my goal to be friends with people indefinitely – even if they hurt me, even if they let me down. Obviously, I’m not perfect, and have (and will) let people down, but my goal is to be there, no matter what happens. So far (and yes, it’s only been a year), I haven’t lost a single friend I’ve made, and I intend to keep it that way.
How did this happen?
First, I started doing events with smaller groups of people – last year’s snow day, for example. I did attend a hike in Nov., but that was still Nathan 1.0.
I also started adding people to my IM list, and done my best to take an interest in them, as I recognized that Nathan 1.0 was too inwards focused. I discovered all sorts of interesting things that people are doing, and have learned a lot about a whole range of topics, from cars, to sewing, to veterinary science, to linguistics, to mechanical engineering, to Star Trek, you name it. Not only that, but nearly everyone on my list has shared with me their lives – both the good things and the bad, both victories and struggles, heartbreaks and elation – a level of trust I never really had experienced before, and for that, I am deeply thankful. I will strive to do my best to keep your trust.
In addition to the above, starting in Feb., I’ve been forcing myself to attend social events with a lot of people, to get myself used to being in large groups of people.
Going to those events, and surviving them, enabled me to step out further. I planned a hike during spring break, and have been a part of the planning process for several events now.
In the summer, several people I know went on a temporary hiatus from our church – that caused me to get rid of some of the last remnants of Nathan 1.0 – I had always shied away from groups of people I don’t know, but the hiatus caused me to ask myself, “Why?” Therefore, in August, my sister and I started going to the young adults group at our church. It was probably the best decision I have made in a long time. You guys are awesome! I’ve learned a lot about convictions (a blog post I’m working on – probably one of the most controversial I have done so far – sufficed to say, I think a lot of people use “convictions” as a Christianese cover for pride, but that’s another topic for another time. 😛 ), how to be accepting of people different than me, and have reassessed my view on what things are really important in life and in friendships.
That brings us up to now. With God’s help, I’ve made a ton of progress (or so I think), and I still have a loooooooong ways to go. There are a few people (very few, thankfully 😛 ) who I’m still dealing with bugs left over from Nathan 1.0 – if I Seem Rather cold, Avoid eye contact, or similar things, bear with me as I eliminate them. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. :(
My question to you is (either IM me or post it in the comments, I don’t care), have you noticed a change in me since you first met me? Has it been good or bad? Have I affected your life (as in, if I were to suddenly disappear, would you notice)? If so, in a good or bad way?
What’s the one thing I could improve on for Nathan 3.0?
Thanks a ton for all your help, support, and encouragement this past year, and I greatly look forward to doing things with all of you in the coming year. 😀