The Beauty of Changing Our Minds

Breanne Szabados

© Copyright 2022 by Breanne Szabados

Photo by Ali Kazal courtesy of Unsplash.
Photo by Ali Kazal courtesy of Unsplash.

As Iíve gotten older, the things that are important to me and the things that I ultimately want have changed. I suppose this is a normal and natural part of being a human being, but for most of my life, I felt like it was not really an option; that I needed to have it all figured out and had no flexibility to pivot or change my mind. Itís actually a really comforting place to be to allow for change. When I was in my twenties, most of the things I wanted were influenced by my family and the way I was raised, as well as what society told me I should want (a good job, marriage, kids, owning a home, etc.). Sadly, I never gave much thought to what I truly wanted. As a result, a lot of things didnít work out for me in the long term or make me happy (relationships, jobs, living situations, etc.). It wasnít until I started giving it serious thought and really digging deep to find out what I truly wanted for my life that things started revealing themselves to me and falling into place in ways that made so much more sense for my life and happiness.

I also used to feel like I didnít have the flexibility to change what I wanted in life in any area of life. That I always had to want marriage or children or a job where I climbed the corporate ladder and had a lot of stress and responsibility; that once I had a job, I couldnít do something else instead. How freeing when I finally gave myself permission to change my mind! To not really care what anyone thought I should want or what was right for me. Because no one else will ever know what it is that will ultimately make me happy or bring me fulfillment in my life. It took me way too long to arrive at that conclusion, but I can honestly say that I am a healthier, happier, more content person now, living my life from this place of authenticity instead of trying to force myself and my life into some picture of happiness that doesnít resonate for me. Every time I have tried to do that, it has always ended up creating discontent and resentment because I was trying to live up to some ideal that wasnít really true to me. Maybe some of this naturally comes with age, maybe it is breaking free of expectations that I have always felt were placed on me as a woman, but instead of judging myself for all of the choices I have made in my life, I am able to give myself grace for the younger version of myself, who had no idea what she was doing. Not that I have all of the answers now, but I have learned to embrace this space of not knowing everything, not having all (or really any) of the answers. And ultimately, to be open to changing my mind and following my intuition, even when it seems like a complete shift from where I am in any given moment.

I have also stepped away from always wanting or needing more. This allows me to be truly present here and now, in the current season of my life, instead of constantly planning for or striving for the next milestone or life achievement. I think that so many times, we miss the beauty of where we are in life because we are already thinking ahead and planning for the next big thing, whatever that may be. As a consummate planner and someone who very much likes to be in control, this isnít always a comfortable place for me to be. In the past, I have placed my worth in my achievements and my goals, but found that constantly pushing for more achievement and accolades left me feeling stressed, burned out and like I was never enough or worthy of happiness in the present moment. Every time I would achieve a milestone, I was expected to already know what the next achievement would be and have goals and defined steps to get there. Unfortunately, this often feels like the expected norm in a corporate atmosphere. That is a dangerous and unhealthy place to be, and I had to consciously step away from the achievement grind in order to find some balance and some contentment. As a result, I am often presented with opportunities that I would never have even considered before because I had left the space in my life for them to arrive. Living in this state of flow and openness feels so much better for me, and gives me the freedom to try new things and change my mind if things donít feel right. It still feels a bit sticky for me sometimes, as the ingrained behavior of achievement is difficult to overcome. It requires me to make sure that I pause, reflect and truly go inward to question my motivations for the things I am pursuing.

I guess my biggest lesson in all of this is that things work out how and when they are meant to, always. No amount of forcing or pushing or planning or controlling on my part makes the least bit of difference. Control is a grand illusion that I cling to in order to cope with change and uncertainty. It only makes the journey and the process more challenging and much less enjoyable. My wants and needs are allowed to shift and change as I grow into who I am as a person, which is a lifelong process. I am always changing and never want to stay fixed in my opinions or desires; instead, I want to be open and available for the right things to make their way into my life. Even if that means taking a different path than the one I set out on, or shifting and changing my beliefs and thought patterns to something that feels more aligned for me at any given moment. Most of all, I am allowed to change. In fact, successfully navigating change is an essential life skill that will always be needed, as things never really stay the same forever.

I am a writer based in Ventura, CA. Professionally, I work for a major hospitality company as a revenue manager, but writing is a passion that I pursue in my spare time. I have a BA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, as writing and reading have always been the things that truly nourish me in life. I have always written for myself, but started to share my writing online about two years ago. It has been equal parts scary and exciting to share my work with others. I appreciate being considered for the Storyhouse writing contest in Biographical Nonfiction.

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