A Personal Evolution

The question: Comment on the changes that have occurred in your life during the last four years?

I was recently fortunate enough to conduct an interview with bonafide movie star Colin Farrell. Most of our discourse pertained to film, his upcoming projects, and other cinematic ambitions. However, towards the end of our conversation he poignantly observed that when he first started making movies in the states, he was terrified of the prospect of going back to his hometown in Ireland and having his friends and family proclaiming “he’d changed”. Before I could contemplate how I’d evolved over my miniscule 18-year life, Ferrell followed that sentiment with “but you should be changing all the time.”

Farrell’s final words had ignited a notion I’d been ruminating for the past few years: if there’s one constant in this actively evolving world, it’s the act of change. Colin Ferrell had experienced it, my family has experienced it, and now I have experienced it.

In the past four years there have been several events – some monumental, some existential, and some seemingly inconsequential – that have shaped and altered my life. Chronologically (and perhaps on a scale of severity) the first substantial change occurred when my mother packed up, took my two brothers, and relocated to California. I stayed behind with my father in Chicago. My decision was met with equal amounts of anger, trepidation, sadness, and angst from my endearing mother (whom I regularly lived with up until that Freshman year).

Those ten months spent living with my father and attending a rigorous Catholic private school weren’t the most pleasant of times. To be more specific, my freshman year of high school was a series of dismal events filled with mean-spirited classmates, lackluster teachers, and a disastrously counter-productive addiction to gaming on my front. It’s a part of my history that I don’t tend to reflect on – and in no part was my father responsible for the awfulness of that year. In fact, he may have been the only redeeming feature in those times. Alas, I evolved and decided to move out west with my mother and two brothers.

This was a time for me to reinvent myself – to forget about the past year and start fresh with a clean slate. Moving to California provoked an infinite amount of change in my life. It began with my focus shifting from excessively indulging in electronics to writing about the art form of film. Film directly assisted with my growth: it opened up a new world for me spend endless hours in, ideas to contemplate for days on end, and stories that enlighten my mind and brought tranquility to a life that was often occupied with stress, drama, and heartbreak.

As my career in film criticism evolved (I was accepted as a member of the press in California, attended film festivals around the country, and obtained several jobs as a reporter), so did my life at home. I was no longer the perpetually ambivalent and disgruntle teenager my parents could hardly tolerate. The days of isolation came to an end as well. Friends were made, academics took priority, and happiness took precedence. It wasn’t all peaches and roses, but as time went by I began to realize just how fortunate I was to be living. My appreciation of family, friends, and love overtook my preconceived cynical notions of life.

And so, I revert back to Colin Farrell’s philosophy on change in our lives. While evolving isn’t always beneficial, it is natural. It’s comforting to know where I stand in my life as this moment. By the same token it’s exciting to contemplate where I’ll be in four years – and who and what in that time will change who I am. Only time will tell.

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