It isn’t a crime to change your mind, little one. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you suddenly love peanut butter or decide that you hate Dora’s perky voice. I’m not saying you should change your mind about everything every few minutes—just that you can realize you love something with all your heart, and realize that you’re learning to un-love it the next day.
Exhibit A. I browsed through my preschool yearbook a while back when I unearthed it from all the junk the pack-rats in our family collected through the years. And right beside my name, in what presumably was my own messy handwriting, was a quote saying “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor.” Yes, I once wanted to be a doctor—at a time when I didn’t even really know what a doctor was (just that they were scary monsters obsessed with needles).
When I was in elementary, I decided I loved writing and I wanted to write forever—but my dad wanted me to be an engineer or a lawyer. So in high school, I decided I wanted to be a newspaper journalist slash criminal defense lawyer. By the time college and DSLRs rolled around, I just knew I was going to be a freelance photographer, a news anchor and a civil rights attorney.
And now? I cannot take an artsy photo to save my life, I do not have the patience (or free memory space in my brain) to sit through four years of law school, and I graduated with a degree in Journalism just to forge a career as your classic corporate robot. And I’m more than okay with that.
Becoming a journalist, something my college professors always told me, was a sacrifice. You had to love it enough to know that you will probably not become a millionaire ten years down that road. And I realized that someday, I want a really good life for me and my (maybe) future family. So I drafted my resume, put on a pair of slacks (okay, a skirt) and a collared blouse, and began my journey into Marketing, locking away my inner writer.
I traded most of what I knew about creative writing to familiarize myself with Microsoft Excel, numbers, formulas, tables and graphs. Aside from the occasional “deep” tweet or enlightening Facebook status, I didn’t write again for a really long time—until recently, when I crawled into Thought Catalog as a pseudo writer. So I have changed my mind yet again. I want to become successful (and rich) in the corporate universe and still pursue my first love, writing. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll tender my resignation and realize that I was meant to be a CNN reporter, after all.
You are allowed to change your mind. I guarantee you, half of your classmates in college won’t even end up pursuing what they want at this moment. And you might not end up doing what you are pouring your heart and soul into now ten or twenty years later.
It doesn’t matter how many times you change your mind about your academic selections or your career goals as long as whatever you are doing, it is: a) something you love or really want to do, and b) you can live with your choices for the rest of your life.
Go ahead. Dream big, make some compromises and change your mind every now and then. Sometimes, we stumble upon happiness and contentment after trying and failing at so many other things. And if you allow yourself some big changes (after thorough evaluation, mind you), when you do find what makes you happy, you can enjoy it without what-ifs breathing down your neck—you know the answers because you’ve tried other paths. So change your mind, be free… And remember, no regrets.