Reserving the Right to Change Your Mind

Thursday, June 21, 2012

During the course of writing this blog, I have made many a life change. I started writing in high school as a badly-formatted public journal and then (gradually) went on to see it as a more formal way to publish my own content without the burden of a publishing contract. It's part the zinester in me and part personal encounters with the publishing industry. At a tender middle school age, I attempted to publish my first novel (pitching to real live agents, you see), but for the obvious reasons that was a flop.

In some ways, the blog has watched my personal growth in a very tangible way and stands as living proof of my thoughts at various stages. Most important to me, however, it has acted as a true showcase of how often I really do change my mind.

Our society prizes consistency. A consistent person can be a solid and trustworthy one. But they are not, with those qualities alone, a creative one. Changing my mind, especially out loud like on this blog, has often been a sign of creative or personal progress for me. Here's why:

Flexibility is the key. If you're unable to finish out a goal, altering it may be necessary. Taking something in a new direction can spark some interesting results. Now, I don't advocate always giving up on something or changing every second. But often, it isn't the worst thing in the world to alter course. It takes time and effort to make these changes anyway, unless you're opting out entirely.

If you find yourself in a completely different landscape than you started - say, on a different writing topic, career path, or view of relationships - you're still going to be carrying around a great deal of the past. Emotionally, it will sting. Therein comes the letting go, a part that most of us consistent-type people are trained out of. We're supposed to see it out to the end right? Face all the challenges that come our way? It begins as a terrifying prospect that the things you've worked towards in the past no longer hold as much weight. But you must carry with you the belief that where you're going is better than where you've been and adjust for impact.

I like to think that changing my mind means that one door might close, but another will open. Or maybe a window. Or a rabbit hole to a multi-colored universe - who knows? The point is, making a decision and then having to alter its course should not be a sign of failure. Only you can determine whether and how something affects your life.