What I Mean When I Say

“I’ve Changed”

I don’t say this often only because the moment doesn’t often arise where I get to say it. If I could, I think I would tell everyone willing to listen that I’ve changed. Partially because I am absolutely obsessed with the concept of change.

It’s such a nifty idea isn’t it? We can start off with an opinion, a feeling, a way of existing and through experiences and knowledge we can become something else. That’s so wild isn’t it? Uncontrollable and awesome.

We can be someone two years back and through thought, experience, and constant learning we can be someone completely different.

I got a taste of change when I was a teenager and starting taking gray areas on everything. I wasn’t comfortable sharing the same political views/wordly opinions as my parents, but I wasn’t comfortable supporting the other side. So I started staying in the gray area.

But I had a voice. I had thoughts. I had facts and reasons to back them up. I just kept thinking, What if they’re wrong?

And one day I had enough and just blurted out my opinion when in a discussion. I decided that this was my decision today based on the information I had, on the experiences I’d lived through, and the emotions in the moment. I decided to think that it’s okay if I’m wrong today because I can learn more and be different tomorrow.

But it’s hard to communicate that to people.

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I can tell people I’ve gotten more flexible. I can show them. I can tell them I run faster, lift heavier weights. I can tell them I eat better.

But when I tell people that I’m happy, that I’m not depressed anymore, that I’m calm…that I’m happy that’s too much for them to believe. When I tell them I don’t believe in organized religion, or much of anything, that’s too much. When I don’t vocalize my disdain for Trump, that’s too much. When I don’t get fired up, that’s not like me. When I choose to exclude myself from social media, medical conversations, or negativity I’m questioned.

Am I okay? I seem sad. This isn’t like you.

Except that it is. This is who I am today based off my experiences, my knowledge, my emotions. These are the opinions I’ve formed. These are the habits that make me happiest. These are the lifestyle choices that I love.

I am who I am because this is who I choose to be.

That’s something I’ve told myself for years, more on that next week, but it’s helped me remember that who I am in this moment is who I have created and chosen to be.

It’s okay if I’m not who I was yesterday. Totally fine. It’s good to be different. It’s even okay to change your core values.

So many things happen throughout our lifetimes that I would think it less normal to be the same person at 60 that you were at 20. It’s stagnation, not growth.

Growth doesn’t always feel good either. Sometimes it really sucks. Sometimes we aren’t fully informed. Or we’re too emotional. Or close-minded. That’s okay, we just need to work to constantly learn and understand more.

We can’t be afraid to change.

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To those of you facing change, jump in! Challenge your mind. Challenge your beliefs. Hold everything under a microscope then look into a telescope. What does it mean to be human to you? What does it mean to be you? Give me an instruction manual.

It’s possible to change. It’s possible to change a lot.

If you’re on the other side, watching someone change, you have only two decisions assuming this is a healthy change and not a mental disorder, an eating disorder, drug addiction, or other harmful thing (and no, dropping out of college/leaving the church/coming out is not a harmful thing).

Your two decisions are to support that person of let that person leave your life. You don’t have to be around people unlike you and your morals if it really upsets you. If you cannot support their change, let them go.

As harsh as that may sound, it’s the healthiest decision for everyone involved. As much as we don’t want to bring negativity into our lives, we don’t want to force it into the lives of others.

What do I mean when I say, “I’ve changed”?

I mean just that. I’m bringing who I am today to the table. I’m very open. I’m very honest about myself and there are others like me open to change, open about themselves.

If you run into people like me who do change, don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about stepping on toes. Don’t judge us for changing. Don’t worry about anything! We’re just over here, doing our own thing.

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