A few weeks ago, an interesting comment came up over dinner. A friend I’ve known since I was in diapers turned to me and said, “It’s amazing how much you’ve changed. You’re a different person.”
Confused, I asked her what she meant because I don’t feel very different.
I feel, well, like me.
She explained that over the past four years, she’s witnessed my transition to a person dedicated to several new disciplines — writing, exercising, eating well, and so on.
She was totally right, but I hadn’t felt that change like she had. It felt natural to me, though I was clearly very different when compared to the friend she remembered.
As humans, the rate at which we change is quite impressive.
That conversation over the dinner table got my brain swirling about our shifts as humans.
We all change so quickly, and I’m not just talking about physically. I’m talking about our interests.
- When I was five, I wanted to be a teacher.
- At around seven years old, I wanted to be a writer.
- When I was eleven, I wanted to be in the WNBA (I can dribble like nobody’s business).
- When I turned fifteen, I spent more time than I’d like to admit photoshopping pictures of *NSYNC.
By the time I graduated college, I had cycled through about fifteen other careers, including journalist, computer scientist, television producer, and more.
Over time, we all change, and our interests change along with us. What we thought we liked just five years ago, probably isn’t the same thing we are into now.
Gues what? That’s okay.
Like the layers of a cake, each step is different.
I like to think of these changes as something else, not just changes. We are hard-wired to dislike “changes”, so what if we framed all of this as something else? For the sake of celebrating these changes instead of disliking them, let’s change the language.
Let’s call them versions.
As we ride along over time, our interests shift, our bodies grow and weaken, but our spirits usually surge into something greater. We add on extra layers, with better and more refined versions of ourselves each time.
We are born as a version 1, but time takes its course and our interests twist and turn as the path unwinds.
Some versions have some defects and bugs.
- You may find it difficult to learn a new discipline or craft.
- You may find it difficult to perform well at some tasks than others.
- You may find it difficult to find peers that are likeminded and inspiring.
- You may find it difficult to make the time to dedicate to jumping into your next version.
Other versions are wildly successful and exciting.
- You may find it easy to pick up a new skillset or opportunity.
- You may find it easy to show off just how good you are at your new pursuits.
- You may find it easy to mesh well with the people in your new interests.
- You may find it easy to dive deep into your new version, spending hours on end learning and exploring.
The beauty in the ride is that you are driving.
Whether or not your versions have been positive or negative, you can always count on the fact that a new version is to come — if you want it to. There is never-ending possibility out there, but it is inherently up to you to grab it by the ears and say, “Wait for me. I’m coming with you!”
What version are you on?
I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere near Marcella v8.1. If I sat down and mapped out each version, it would be difficult to decide where one version ended and where a new one began, but I’m happy knowing that each step in the process has made me a happier and more fulfilled person. Sure, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but each setback has helped shorten the road to happiness all the more.
Sometimes versions last a few months, and others last a few years.
Lately, I’m burning through versions faster than my iPhone burns through a full battery. It’s exhausting, sure — and it’s invigorating. Dear reader, what version are you on?