Recently, I ran across my High School Yearbooks. I looked at the autographs and found at least 5 people every year, who wrote something like, "Don't, ever change. Stay just the way you are." If you ever attended a High School Reunion, you probably found dozens of people who took that advice seriously and did stay the way they were. At least some were funny, entertaining to be around, just like the days of homeroom and biology. Then there are the classmates who stayed just the way they were and should not have. Yikes. You may have found this group somewhat boring, just like the old days.
At my first and only Reunion, it had been 20 years since graduation. As far as I could tell there were 3 groups at this event. One group kept retelling stories from "those days", the good, the bad and the embarrassing. It was the only way they knew how to reconnect. Who could blame them for wanting to re-capture a time that really spoke to belonging, safety and acceptance (for them). The other group told some stories and then moved on to catch up and talk about what is going on now. This was the group which had growing experiences, who for the most part, knew who they were. These folks wanted to build from the present forward.
I was in the third group. We didn't stay the way we were, but we weren't the people that we could be, either. So we spent the evening with safer stuff, movies that we found inspiring, sports, favorite places, did we like the work we were doing. I left feeling really grateful that this group was primarily introverts and we did find a point of connection. I was also really grateful that I didn't have to spend the entire evening sitting at that long lunch table by myself. Phew!
That was almost 30 years ago. I have changed many times since then. There are those who say "Thank goodness"! Then there are those who say "You are so wishy washy. I never know where you stand, you change your mind so much. Could you just stay put for awhile and let me catch my breath?" "Well, let me think. NOPE!" "Well, I don't feel like I know you anymore," they say. That is music to my ears! It means I am not a pigeon in a hole, but a fluid person who has the freedom to change as many times as is necessary to maintain my integrity and speak my truth, as it is in that moment. My people know this about me and accept it because they do the same thing. It is a sign that I am allowing myself to grow and incorporate what I am experiencing into my way of thinking, believing and being.
I am constantly changing my mind as I get new information and reflect on it. I am inconsistent and you can't trust that what I say in this moment will be the same as what I say tomorrow, next week or next year. I am inconsistent, not because I don't know myself or I am unsure that I am ok, but because I choose to remain open to the flow of life.
It is as if my peers wrote this in my yearbooks, "Please don't stay the same. Allow yourself to change. Become a rebel! Speak your Truth. Be the person we get to know all over again." Indeed, I will do that! My wish for you is that you are able to do this too.