Changing my mind

May 31, 2008

Kate asked (slightly paraphrased):

What do you think of [the idea that] to be able to change your life, you have to accept your life as it is right now?

Last year, I changed everything about my life. I broke up with my partner and started going out with someone else. I quit my high-powered job and, a few months later, started studying full-time. I moved out of the house I’d lived in for eight years and now share (much smaller) a house with a friend, in a different neighbourhood.

I had a honeymoon of a few months, where everything seemed lovely and perfect and I thought I’d solved all my problems. Then new problems began to emerge, except – guess what? – they felt exactly the same as the old problems. In the words of someone I used to know – ‘wherever you go, there you are’.

These all seemed like good changes at the time. I’ve now got a slightly more complex view. Some were good decisions and some weren’t. Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows? But, whether good or bad, these changes did not solve the problem that I intended them to solve.

Mostly, the actions we take do not get the results we think we want. Part of that’s because life gets in the way, but another big part is that we are often trying to solve the wrong problem. A new job will not necessarily bring us the happiness we’re looking for, for example. I spent fifteen years looking for the perfect job, and I now wish I’d made a better fist of the jobs I did have, rather than only being in touch with what was wrong with them. (Yet another reason why I don’t believe in control.)

So, why have I written all this? It isn’t answering Kate’s question. Except that I realise it is, in a back-to-front way. I didn’t get what I wanted from changing my life, because I was not accepting the real problem – the way I looked at the world. All the action in the world to ‘change my life’ would not have helped with that. I’m now working on accepting myself as I am, so that I can change it. Without that acceptance, I’ll still be fighting the wrong battles.

So if I take Kate’s question more generally – do I think that ‘to change [whatever], you have to accept it as it is’? – the answer is, yes, a thousand times yes.

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One Response to “Changing my mind”

  1. Kate Says:

    Yeah, that’s more or less how I have been feeling about the comment my other friend made.


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