If you are a consistent follower of my blog, I wrote last February a post titled “Ten Years and Four Years” (read it here). I’ll give you the sum up of that post. On February 27, 2007, I got braces on for the first time. After so much work, and twice the braces, I finally got my braces off for the last time on February 27, 2013.
Today’s post, while similar in a sense, is not going to deal with all those specifics. Instead, I want to focus on a different aspect and hopefully draw a conclusion from that.
At the time I first got my braces, it almost seemed like I would never get them off. It felt like forever. There was so much metal in my mouth and so much had to be done. However, looking at my smile and my mouth five years removed, it feels like forever since I had them on.
My point is, life changes. Things happen. Looking back on the past eleven years since I have gotten metal work in my mouth, my life has changed so much. If you look back and your life is the same as it was 5 or even 10 years ago, would you really be satisfied?
If you asked me ten years ago what I was going to do with my life, I would not have given you a good answer. If you would have asked me five years ago where I was going to college, I couldn’t tell you. But I can tell you that some of my best friends are still the same as they were a decade ago. My point is, it is okay not to have life completely planned out. You’ll look back and see that sometimes minor decisions have a major impact.
In talking to high school students or even college students younger than me, I have gotten a lot of “undecided” about their future plans. Let me just say that that is perfectly fine. You don’t have to know everything right now. Honestly, planning everything often causes more heartache than not planning. This is because if something goes wrong, all of a sudden, your whole plan is in chaos. Some things are definitely important to plan, but plan more generalizations than specifications. Be flexible about your goals. For example, I want to teach history in Indiana. However, I don’t have a specific school or even type of school I want to teach at. I was not sure about my concentrations until I came to college. I was so fortunate to take a psychology class my first semester, and I was hooked. I absolutely loved it. I knew I wanted to be licensed in geography, but until that psychology class, I did not know if I wanted to have any other licensure areas. As a result, both psychology classes I’ve been in have been amazing. Last semester, I took psychology of learning, and this semester, I get to take psychology of women (no it’s not a “down with the patriarchy” kind of class, but more how women think, feel, and act in the world. It’s really cool stuff actually).
If you had told me on this day five years ago that I would be in my second year of my blog writing about my experiences, I probably would not have believed you. But here I am, and while life gets in the way sometimes, I love what I do.
I’m glad for this change. I would not want to look back and still be in the same place I was five years ago. My life has changed since I’ve no longer had braces, and it had changed since the first time I got them on.
Change is such a normal part of life. However, people see change as this terrible thing. Let me ask you something though: if you look back five years ago on your life, and compare it to where you are now, aren’t you better now than you used to be? That’s the result of change. Small changes make big differences.
I can think of another small change that had a huge impact. Six years ago, I gave up soda for good. As a result, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, I hardly ever have caffeine in my system, and I drink so much more water, not because I’m forced to, but because I enjoy it. These are small changes. In my post last year, I wrote about how I got a scar on the inside of my lip the day or so before I got my braces off. That was a small action, but even now, if I sleep with my mouth open because I can’t breathe, my scar opens up and it causes me pain. It was something minor at the time, but I am still dealing with the consequences.
So what is the takeaway? Sometimes the smallest changes cause the biggest results. I know change is scary, but I do not think you want to be in the same place of your life five years from now. So take the change as it comes, and live one day at a time. What changes you make and where you end up may surprise you.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments!