Hello, reader! How are you? Take a seat. Don’t mind the mess, I’m still unpacking. Would you like a coffee?
I recently discovered that many forms of urban wildlife like to visit my garden, and in my naive, not-a-real-Londoner state I was delighted. “I’m living in The Animals of Farthing Wood!” I thought. (Except that time I saw a squirrel eating a potato waffle – pictured above – which was just baffling.)
Well, waking up this morning to discover that said wildlife had seen fit to POO on the patio made me rethink my position. I have spent the last hour Googling how to deter foxes, with mixed success. According to this nice pest control man, “young male urine” will do the trick. Excuse me, but a) gross and b) I live with my sister. How on EARTH are we supposed to ask our next young male visitor to oblige us with that particular type of pesticide? It’s just not happening.
Anyway, vulpine poo problems aside, this last week or so has demonstrated to me that changing your mind is an inevitable part of life. It doesn’t even take an unwelcome surprise (as it were) to create the change: as we experience life, we discover that our feelings about the world change accordingly. This is a good thing, because it shows that we are not closed-minded people, but it’s also a bit disorientating, because our opinions form an integral part of who we are. Here are some of the things I think we worry about too much in terms of where we stand:
The Career Conundrum
I won’t lie to you: pursuing a writing career is hands down the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and this is coming from someone who’s been to Hackney at night time. Sometimes our choice of job or pursuit of passion leaves us feeling a bit lost, and we start to wonder whether we’ve made the right decisions. This week I genuinely started to panic about the writing thing, and even though it’s sort-of on the wane now, it was weird how unappealing my lifelong passion started to look.
I really don’t believe that it is ever too late to change your mind about what you want to do. I have a friend who is doing a degree course at the age of 26 (and getting insanely high marks as well, the jammy madam). A lot of people I know – especially those lovely creative types – are constantly turning their hands to all sorts of endeavours, and it makes them much more rounded and fascinating people. Society tells us that we must introduce ourselves with our job titles, as though our careers defined us. They don’t, even though they do take up a lot of our time. It’s not worth wasting time worrying about what your job title sounds like when the main thing is to be happy. If you change your mind about what you want to do, that’s your business. As far as I’m concerned, you should be allowed to introduce yourself as Grand High Master of the Universe for all that your job title actually matters.
The Marriage and Kids Debate
“I definitely want to get married one day.” “I want lots of kids, but not marriage.” “I would never have a church wedding.” We’ve all had these conversations, haven’t we? Especially once you hit my age, lots of people start to seriously consider what the long-term landscape of their personal lives is going to be. At this point, particularly if you have a serious boy/girlfriend, it becomes very important to be completely honest with yourself about what you really want. You may have spent your entire life saying that you categorically MUST be married by a certain age or have a minimum number of children, but of all things your vision of familial happiness has to be allowed to change. It’s nice to have a hypothetical idea of what you want, but you have to be able to adapt to what your heart tells you as you get older. At sixteen you may have been adamant that marriage was not for you, but if you meet the man/woman of your dreams at twenty-six and you change your mind, don’t fight it. Your past self had no idea what life had in store for you, so why does s/he get to dictate your decisions now?
The Really Big Issues
It is a truly excellent thing to have an informed opinion about Syria, Scottish independence, euthanasia and how we can persuade David Cameron’s home planet to take him back. The key word in that sentence is “informed” – new information and updates about all of these issues appear on a daily basis, and if situations change we are supposed to readjust our views accordingly. It takes a much more intelligent and honest person to change their mind about huge political problems than it does to stick to narrow-minded guns. Consistency is all very well and good, but have you noticed that the news is not consistent? It changes every day, in fact. We need to keep up, otherwise we’ll end up like those eejits who think that gay marriage causes hurricanes or whatever.
The main thing to remember is that changing our minds once doesn’t mean we’ll never change them back, or that we won’t form a new opinion entirely. My writing worries will go, I’m sure, as soon I get stuck into my next play. If they don’t, I could always retrain as an accountant or something.
Ok, that will NEVER happen. But the point is that we can and should keep our options (and minds) open.
Have a stupendously enjoyable Thursday.