I had an idea a while back. It went something like this: We don’t change as we get older. We just stop trying to change. The more we stop trying to change, the more we come back to who we really are.
Allow me to elaborate a bit.
As children, we do what we love without much thought. We sing, dance, play, create and express ourselves fully and joyfully. When you are fully self-expressed, how can you be anything less than joyful? We lean towards those who show us love and kindness, and we avoid those who are mean and hurtful.
At some point as we get older, we start to change. We stop singing, dancing and playing. We start changing who we are – who we BE – to fit a mould or a stereotype or an ideal or an image. Our life gets overtaken by shoulds and shouldn’ts.
I should take this job.
I shouldn’t wear stripes and polka dots.
I should study that subject.
I shouldn’t sing in public.
I should. I shouldn’t. I should. I shouldn’t.
And mostly we get so stuck wondering and worrying about what other people think about who we are and what we’re up to, that we forget about I am, and I love and I’m happy. We change away from who we are, turning into some version of ourselves that we don’t quite recognize. We accept people in our life who makes us feel bad. We do things we don’t love – and don’t do things we do love – because we feel like we should. Or shouldn’t. We have to, or can’t, or not right now, or maybe later.
And my favourite: One day.
One day I’ll start painting again.
One day I’ll exercise.
One day I’ll have dinner with my old friend.
One day I’ll write that book.
One day I’ll open my own business.
One day…some day…
This leads to all kinds of drama. All the Who am I? questions and What’s my purpose? questions and I need to find myself inquiries. And then we read books (and blogs!) and talk to therapists and friends and listen to tapes and listen to Oprah and then something happens…
We find ourselves drifting away from those people who make us feel bad. We find ourselves colouring again. Or running. Or playing the piano. Or whatever it is that brings us joy. We stop worrying about what other people will think, and just live our lives with a little more love.
And we’re happy.
People say “You’ve changed.”
No, you haven’t.
You’re back to being you. Back to who you were always meant to be.
You’ve stopped changing.