When I was twelve, I wanted to be a lawyer. I think I just liked arguing a little more than was healthy, and it seemed lawyers got paid well.
When I was fourteen, I thought many foods were disgusting. Those included broccoli, onions, bananas, tomatoes, olives, and spinach. I also thought I knew everything I really needed to know in life.
When I was sixteen, I thought I had a pretty good handle on life. Work your ass off, stay out of trouble, get a decent job, and find someone to marry and make kids with – that’s the way to live the good life. Oh, and at that point, I wanted to be an accountant, because that was the only business class I had in high school.
When I was twenty, after having anthropology, astronomy, philosophy, and literary analysis classes, I really wanted to change my major to something more interesting than marketing (which it was by that point). But I also wanted to do something practical that would almost guarantee my marketability after college. The goal is to get a job, after all. Also, I thought about my fourteen-year-old self and thought, “I can’t believe I thought I knew it all. I clearly didn’t know it all then, but I’m pretty sure I know everything I need to know now.”
When I was twenty-two, I opened my own business in sales and marketing, and it was successful. I made a profit, had good people on staff, and got to be my own boss. I had seriously dated four different guys by that point, any of which would have been good men to marry, but my career came first. There always came a point in our relationships in which they could see my choices were my choices – not our choices – and they’d get sick of being the second priority. After opening my business, I relocated it three times in pursuit of bigger territories, and each time, I left a man behind. I’d date a wonderful guy, pick out a new territory, and let him know he could come with me, if he wanted to. Is it surprising they didn’t follow?
I was twenty-six when I realized that most of what I always thought I wanted turned out to be what I didn’t want.
My Initial Blueprint
I previously thought money and status were the main priorities. My new perspective was that helping people – as many people as I could have a positive impact on – was the way to live my best life.
I previously thought I didn’t need a man (or anyone else) in my life to be happy. My new perspective was that connecting with others is the largest provider of fulfillment in life.
I previously thought working hard, even if you don’t like your work, was just part of life, if you wanted to be successful. My new perspective was that working a job you hate is just throwing your life away, and doing something you love is within your grasp, no matter who you are or what you are passionate about.
My Current Blueprint
Today, I am in a career I love that gives me fulfillment. I am married to a wonderful man who stuck around while I was still figuring out that relationship / connection priority stuff. I love broccoli, tomatoes, bananas, and spinach – they are all staples of my diet. I still don’t like olives, but no one’s saying you’ll change your mind about everything.
I don’t feel bad about having a different mindset when I was younger. Though I don’t share the same values with my twenty-year-old self, that person led me to where I am today. I’m not saying what I used to believe was wrong – I’m saying it was different.
I don’t have a tattoo, and mostly, it is because when I think of how drastically my life has changed since I was a young adult, how my tastes in nearly everything has transformed, how what is important to me has shifted over the years, I think it is unlikely I could pick something that I’d still be glad I had a decade from now.
Is Change Good or Bad?
It is a natural process for people to grow and change their minds. With each new experience comes new data for your mind to process, evaluate, and foster opinions about. Whether it is good or bad is a perspective choice.
Sometimes, I see people being given a hard time for changing their minds. Maybe they are deemed uncaring if they decide they want something different in a romantic partner than the traits of the one they currently date. Maybe they are called flakey when they can’t choose a major or have switched it a few times. Maybe they are called fakes or frauds when they decide to transform themselves, especially when those changes conflict with previously stated values.
The point is… people change. The world changes. Technology changes. Markets change. The economy changes. Everything changes!
So if you’ve come to realize you want to make some changes in your life – changes that could improve your level of happiness, fulfillment, success or self-worth – then go for it. Don’t feel bad that you are leaving the old you behind. Don’t feel bad if your family or friends don’t understand or if they think you are crazy. Change is necessary for progress. Forge ahead.
written by Amiee Mueller.