When you change your mind

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When I was 8(ish) I wrote a note to my Mom that read: “I promise to never like fancy things.”

She told me she would keep it to read at my future wedding. “You’re going to change your mind one day”, she oh-so-knowingly said.

“NEVER” I responded as I ran outside, wearing my embarrassing baseball T-shirt from the Northern Getaway boys section that literally said: “baseball is the most fun you can have with dirt down your pants.”

Like, why.

20 years have passed since that note was written. I’ve long since gotten rid of that Tee and have moved on from the NG brand. I have moved cities and houses and made my way through the Freshco/Metro/Loblaws circle. I’ve grown and changed and time has passed – but that note still sits in my Mom’s jewellery box, just hanging around and taunting me with a lesson that I was so reluctant to believe at the time: Mom was right.

I changed my mind.

And it’s funny, because it doesn’t matter. My transition from having the most fun I could ever have with dirt down my pants to appreciating the odd fancy thing or two is harmless. Endearing. Perhaps even a wee bit cute.

But what happens when we change our mind now? When we’re older and wiser and when it matters? When it’s not about pants vs. dresses, it’s about life?

It was easy then – changing your mind was simple because you had so little concept of consequence. You had a crush on Mark but the next day it was David because whatever – you changed your mind.

You liked the Rainbow dunkaroos better but changed to chocolate because that’s what was in the cupboard. You wanted to have a princess birthday but the store was out of princess invitations so now it’s ZOO TIME BABY!

Things changed, and you’d throw a fit for like ten minutes and then move onto whatever life had morphed into now. And you didn’t look back because you were too excited about what was coming.

And now? Now we (I?) can’t stop looking back.

What if we had done that? Said this? Picked that instead?

Did we do it right? Look what they’re doing. And instead of just trying shit – running with it and dealing with the outcome later, we spend all our time wondering if it’s the right direction and all our other time second guessing how we feel.

But maybe we’re making it too hard. Pick a passion in grade 12 and apply to that program. Go study it. Become something. Work hard and get so knee-deep in a career that you kind of forget there are other options out there. Date someone. Pick the right person and date them because you don’t want to waste the wrong person’s time.

Don’t waste your time, either. Do the things that interest you – that matter. Do yoga because it’s supposed to fix your back problems. Watch the debate so you can effectively take part in the office chatter tomorrow.

And sure – these things are all well and good. In principle they’re actually quite inspiring. We should do things that interest us. We should work hard to become something.

But at the same time, this whole idea is instilled in us as soon as we hit what, 17? That there’s a direction we’re supposed to be heading towards. And we can pick it, sure. Balls in our court, baby. But pick something – choose a life that you want – and go get it.

What happens when ten years later we change our mind? When we realize what we picked – what we spent all this time running at – isn’t what we want anymore?

I doubt it’s socially acceptable to throw a ten minute fit and move on. But beyond that, I don’t know if I could throw a ten minute fit and move on. It’s no longer that simple.

But maybe it can be. Kind of. I’m not naive enough to think that approaching life with a child-like enthusiasm is actually feasible. But I do think that we can take some pressure off. Because here’s the thing:  

When I was 8(ish) I wrote a note to my Mom that read: “I promise to never like fancy things.”

She told me I would change my mind. She was right. And it was that simple. So despite the fact I’m 20 years older now. Despite the fact I’m not writing jewellery box notes but life goals. Rent cheques. Job applications and love letters and things that matter – it’s still okay to change. Maybe if we oh-so-knowingly tell ourselves that we might change our mind about this one day, it’ll take away this weird notion that we have to do everything right right now.

Because maybe it’s not about doing everything right. Maybe it’s simply about doing something. Trying shit. Believing something. Failing. Trying something else. And forgetting to look back because we’re too damn excited about what’s to come.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. E.T. says:

    I love this so much; very inspiring and fun and life-giving!

    P.S. Mom was also right about the ‘f’ word; nada one in this.

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