I read a science article this week that said we are completely different at age 77 than we are at age 17. I found that hard to believe. Inside, I feel like I’m the same “me” I’ve always been; it’s just the circumstances around me that have changed.
But when I think about how much I’ve read. And how much I’ve learned. And how differently I think now than I did growing up, I get the change. Maybe it’s just my energy and core interests that are the same.
So here’s what I think is important: If we’re completely different, then other people are too. And how often do we recognize that? When someone you’re close to changes, do you accept it? Or do you hold onto who you think they are, to the person they used to be?
I talk to people a lot about changing habits, and how hard it can be to change when you define yourself by a habit. Say someone is shy but they want to be more outgoing. A goal might be to start a conversation with a stranger. But for a shy person, this isn’t just a new habit – it’s taking a step away from how they define themselves. Same with someone who’s the life of the party. If they want to party less to improve their health, first they have to decide to either no longer be the life of the party – or to be the life of the party in a new way! Then they can choose a calmer path. Right?
Is there anything about how you define yourself that you’d like to change? And if there is – to do less of something or more of something – what’s a baby step you can take in that new direction? Now that you know you’re going to end up a completely different person, you have the freedom to change. And maybe even the obligation! What direction would you like to head?
Is there someone around you who’s changed and you haven’t seen it? I think this is particularly important with family and old friends. There’s a comfort to “knowing” old acquaintances as being messy, disorganized, the-one-we-always-turn-to, or the “creative one”. But what if that no longer describes them? Is someone around you on a new path and would love to have you see them in a new light?
Sending you love and kindness from the wilds of Maine. BRRR! 🙂