Friday, November 2, 2012

Keep the Change

Not long ago my mother sent me my high school year books. I had thought they were long gone and honestly hadn't missed them a bit. Truth is, they were hiding out in her basement all this time and when she was packing to move, she discovered them and sent them to me. I honestly didn't want them. She could have just tossed them out, but doing something like that isn't in my mother's genetic make up.

I flipped through a few pages, hardly anyone really looking familiar to me, discovering the younger faces of some of the people I'm acquainted with on facebook now. I looked at the signatures inside the back cover. There it was, that old standard that has been scribbled into every person's yearbook since time was new: "Don't ever change."

Don't ever change. I get what the intent is, but it's a sentence that reads... well... like a prison sentence. Don't ever change. What a terrible thing to saddle someone with! Don't ever change. Bah.

As children we are taught, in so many ways, "Follow this path and don't deviate." Again, I get the intent, but it's such a difficult concept to grow out of.

Don't ever change. Follow this path and don't deviate.

I say, change. Change all you want. If you're not happy where you are, if your life isn't what  you want it to be, if you are not who you want to be -  change.

If you don't want to go where the path is leading, find a new path. Hell, carve a new path!

Here's the advice I wish someone had written in that book all those many years ago:

Dear Barb,

Change. Grow every day. Experiment, play, live in wonder. Seek out adventure. Let life take you in its great big embrace and show you how amazing you are. Be alive in your experiences and they will change you, make you better, stronger, intelligent and intuitive.

There are many paths waiting for you out there. Each path will land you exactly where you need to be, so don't be afraid to wander down any of them or all of them. This isn't a test and there's no grand punishment, no right or wrong, it's just life. Let the adventure of living it be your compass.

Stay true to yourself, whoever that self becomes and wherever that self may go. You are a treasure just the way you are and you'll be equally precious every moment of your life, simply because you are you. You are uniquely you. It's a great big world out there and I can't wait to see who you become in it.

Of course, that never happened and it's probably never going to happen in anybody's yearbook. We don't often allow ourselves to change much less foster it in those we love. But we should... we should.

Change. You are loved regardless. Deviate from the path. You are loved wherever you go.

You are uniquely you and I can't wait to see the world with you in it, stretching boundaries, carving new paths, filling every moment and every corner with the essence of your unique self. I am writing this in your figurative yearbook for all time. I am giving you permission. I am telling you.

Change. Go for it.

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