Something I have really been grateful lately is the opportunity to change my mind. I have changed my mind so many times, about so many things. Sometimes I start to get embarrassed that I change my mind so much. But is it really such a bad thing to do?
When I was in college, I knew I wanted to major in English. I also wanted to get a teaching license and minor in math, because I thought it would make me more marketable as a graduate. My sophomore year, I did a semester of watching other teachers at two schools. One of the schools was a huge high school. The other school was a remedial high school where kids who struggled at mainstream high schools attended.
I was so discouraged when I watched a group of eighth graders sit in a reading circle and realized that many of them were functionally illiterate. My heart absolutely went out to them, but the helplessness I felt in the face of their situation overwhelmed me. Looking at the amount of classes I would have to take to get a teaching license doubled that sinking feeling. It would take me a “super senior” fifth year of college to get through unless I wanted to study all through the summer every year. I dropped out of the teaching program at the end of the semester.
My math minor ended when I started to take a second year math theory class, and the class was so hard that I was afraid I would lose my scholarship if I finished. I dropped out. Through my college experience I also started minors in Spanish and Communications, dropping both of them when I realized they would make me take 5 years, too, and I could only have a scholarship for four years.
I started to have a complex that I quit everything. I worried and worried that I am weak, and that I just don’t have what it takes to succeed. When I struggled to get my real estate license, and to decide to keep practicing as a realtor, the dragon of this fear reared its ugly head and blew fire in my face. “You are a quitter,” it hissed in my ear. For awhile, I listened, and wallowed in self pity.
Later, I questioned. Am I really a quitter? I thought about all of the quilts I have made. I thought about my caregiver project. I still have plans and dreams to work on both of those things. I thought about my marriage, which so far has lasted 15 years, and my kids, who are 13 and younger. I haven’t quit on any of those things, even when they got hard.
Just because I have stopped some things, doesn’t make me a quitter. It’s called changing your mind, and it’s one of the best things you can do when you are trying to move forward with your life.
I once received a wedding invitation that was followed a week later by a notice that the wedding was canceled. When I received that cancellation, I thought, “Thank goodness they changed their minds now instead of after the wedding!” It’s so much better to change course early than far down a road that is the wrong way.
I recently had to tell the senior members of my team that I had changed my mind about some decisions I had made at work. They were so gracious, and accepted my apology for changing my mind so often.
I like being reliable, and relying on other people. I think this is why it has been hard for me to let myself change my mind. But it’s also nice to be fully honest. Letting yourself change your mind allows for a happier and more authentic existence.
I once decided never to speak to a close friend again, because I kept hurting his feelings and feeling bad about it. Later, I changed my mind. Now we have been pretty happily married for 15 years.
If you are not sure if it’s okay to change your mind, let me just say that I highly recommend it.
Each person’s life is theirs to lead. As such, I don’t question others and the choices the make. That’s for them to figure out or live their lives, so long as it doesn’t interfere with others. Having said that, I think it’s important for young people to learn to finish what they start and be responsible for their responsibilities. You want to play soccer? Okay, but if you begin, you have to play the entire season. You wish to learn the clarinet? Okay, but you must complete the year. At home, you have chores. In this way, whatever your choices, you also demonstrate reliability and longevity. Then, should you (When we write “you”, this regards any person.), choose differently, having completed something started, you have the experience to complete whatever you choose to start. Again, this is a mostly point of view.
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I see what you are saying, dolphinwrite. That’s a great point of view. I just think I lean a little too hard toward reliabilty sometimes, and I need to pull back a little and let go of pleasing everyone else. I like your soccer example. It’s better not to drop something without having given it a serious shot.
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Yeah. I have some friends who shared they’ve been overly concerned with pleasing others.
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