August 04, 2016

“You’ve Changed”

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“She’s worried that you’ve changed,” my friend said to me a while back, referencing another friend.

“But I haven’t,” I said, defensively.

“You haven’t been coming out with us as much.”

“I know it looks bad but, I just don’t enjoy going out to those things anymore.”

We carried on the conversation, and by the end of it, I realised something. I had. I had changed. I didn’t enjoy doing the things we used to do when we were in our early-twenties in London. I didn’t enjoy going to the same places and talking about the same things and ending up at the same house parties with the same judgmental people who I had nothing in common with. It had suited me for a while, a long time ago, but it wasn’t suiting me anymore. When you grow up, you start to realise what makes you feel good, and what doesn’t – and they didn’t make me feel very good.

We all have lots of different groups of friends and I have absolutely fantastic friends – a support network that makes me swing from trees and bungee-jump through life because they make feel safe. But it was this particular group…and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. They weren’t forever friends, and I wanted to “unsubscribe”.

I remember at the time feeling so incredibly control of my life, and all the people close to me could understand the different motions I’d gone through to get there. But not this group of friends – or should I say this group of not-really-friends – they were scolding me for “changing”; for not being “as care-free as I used to be”; for “always going to work stuff” and for “not being the person they remember”. Basically, they were scolding me for doing the things that made me happy. But I was still me. I just had more stuff to worry about. I had to say “no” to things that I used to always feel pressured to say “yes” too. I started saying “no” for my own sanity.

They were like those shit friends in Devil Wears Prada, who make fun of her new job, want her freebies and make her feel constantly guilty for everything.

Yes, I had changed, but I was happy. And the people who really cared? They were happy for me too.

****

Now it’s not exactly news that I really love Zoe, as a person, a friend, a business woman and a fellow twenty-something creating her own things online. I don’t watch tons of YouTube but the thing I love about her vlogs in particular is that in between the make-up or recipes or life updates or slogan t-shirts or baking recipes (all of which I love watching to chill the EFF out on the sofa after a cray day) are the chatty nuggets of gold. At the end of one of her recent vlogs, she’s on the sofa having a little chat and she spoke about the fear, and often stigma, of “changing”:

“You’ve changed” always seems to have a negative connotation, but I like to think I have changed since I’ve started YouTube almost seven years ago. I think people are always changing and adapting and growing to everything around them. That’s part of growing up…is change….I love seeing how much I’ve changed. I think it’s a great thing.”

– Zoe

The reason I wanted to write this particular quote from Zoe on the blog is because it’s been one of the few things I’ve seen/heard recently where “change” was being championed, and put in a positive light. The full vlog is here and the bit I’m talking about is right at the end. YouTubers record their lives in way more detail than your average person and it must be interesting for them to look back and see how much they’ve changed. I often look back on this blog and think my god I’ve changed.

I absolutely loved how Zoe totally embraces it. She’s right, “changing” is often seen as being inherently bad. Changing your mind can be seen as being indecisive or weak. Changing your opinion can be seen as not knowing who you are or what you want. Changing up any sort of lifestyle choice can be a vulnerable time. But we change every day, albeit tiny amounts, but over time we start seeing noticeable evolutions. Change can be hard too, it can be confusing because just as you think “YEP THIS IS ME AND MY SOLID OPINIONS” and write down your manifesto for life and chisel it into stone, you can end up thinking differently a few months later.

SO I wanted to write down a few “it’s OKS”, for my own sake mainly:

1. It’s OK to change your mind.

We often find it a bit embarrassing “back-tracking” on a previous opinion or thought, but we are HUMAN! We get things wrong! I’ve learned to say “I don’t know” more often, instead of jumping to quick conclusions that I’ll later regret. I love being corrected or having someone point something out to me. I like that Twitter allows me to sometimes make mistakes. I like that one day I might see my path going a certain way and then my path might go a slightly different direction. I can’t predict it and that’s fine – and fun too. You can contradict yourself, it’s OK. We’re all trying our best.

2. It’s OK to change career.

On a recent podcast episode of mine I talk freelance life with Ashley C Ford, and we talk about how it’s OK to “go self-employed” and then decide “hey I kind of want to do an office job again” and swap in between. You don’t have to pigeon-hole yourself and it’s never too late to start again or change direction. As we grow, our interests change, and I find that to be a very exciting thing. I admire anyone who takes the leap into the unknown or wakes up one morning thinking “I’m going to change this” if they’ve realised how miserable the job is making them. Big change is a big risk but it can mean a big increase in happiness levels.

3. It’s OK to change how you feel about a friend.

Whether you’re the one that’s changed or they’ve changed, it doesn’t even matter, and there’s never any point arguing over the small details. Sometimes, you drift from friends because things aren’t the same and THAT’S OK. There doesn’t need to be this massive show-down or drama or people asking you questions, it just is what it is. Sometimes, people aren’t a good fit for us anymore. It’s not you being a horrible person, it’s just that our needs, values and tolerance levels change.

xoxox

“That’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.”

– Malcolm Gladwell

  • Absolutely LOVED this post. I too saw Zoe’s vlog and found that brief yet poignant moment where she openly talked about change very inspiring. Change is a funny thing: as humans, we don’t deal well with it and often it sends us into a tailspin. I’ve been guilty of this. But actually, change can make you a stronger, better, more educated, more relaxed, happier person. I’ve recently taken the decision to change my job for one that is so much more up my street and allows me to do more of what I love which is writing. People haven’t always been supportive of this change but who cares? It’s my life and I’ll change what I want about it. Thanks, as always, for your awesome post and wonderfully honest views. xx

  • Love this! Absolutely incredibly put Emma, once again.

  • I am in my early 20’s and this was something I really needed to hear! Thank you!

  • This is so true! Very well written Emma, I’m glad Zoë tweeted this! 🙂

  • Loved reading this post. It’s pretty inevitable, in my opinion, that you are going to change as you get older and that is in no way a bad thing. If you no longer enjoy doing something/spending time with particular people etc, I think the best thing you can do is to stop doing those things and stop spending time with those people if it will make you happier 🙂

  • I related to this so much. Since going away to college, I have changed so much– especially within the last year. Thing is, though, I’m happier than I ever have been before. I think maybe the only time you might need to be concerned with someone “changing” is when it has a negative impact on their life… i.e.: drugs, excessive drinking, etc.

    Just my thoughts! Lovely post. 🙂

    xx
    C.R.

  • So true and so inspiring – I love this post!

  • I really love this.

  • Really fascinating and poignant post, Emma. I think it’s such an important topic to address, and you did it so well! It IS ok to change, and completely normal as well. I really needed this today, THANK YOU!

  • Loved reading through this. A great reminder that change means growth, and growth is a good thing.

    Wanted to add a couple of my thoughts to #3. This can also work in the other direction – just because you disliked a person months or years ago doesn’t mean that would or should be the case today. I’ve learned to (try to) not hold stiff grudges against people, because all of us are growing up and figuring out life as best we can. If we’ve had a falling out previously but cross paths down the road, I’ll be pleasant and try to be open to them, because maybe they’ve “changed” too.

  • So glad I stumbled across this, I’ve shared on my twitter as you’ve pin pointed the exact stage in my life right now with regards to friendships. I’ve graduated & heading into a masters year, got myself a boyfriend and a new flat to move into together & started an ‘internet life’ (blogging/youtube). I’m changing for the better.

    The guilt of not joining in & being with ‘the girls’ is slowly fading. I’m not losing contact with friends, I’m losing contact with the people who questioned and scrutinised my happiness like an ant under a magnifying glass. Change is making me happy & I thank you for putting the icing on my forever changing cake with this blog post. X

  • I absolutely love this post and what Zoe said in her video really struck a chord with me too! It is okay to change, it’s not always a bad thing to do so!

  • Katie

    Loved this! I’m only fifteen and I can relate to this so much, i have changed over the past year and i’m 100 per cent ok with it.

  • Kate

    Emma, you don’t realise how perfect this post is. This year I turned 27, if someone tells me I’ve changed I’m proud. I used to go with the flow and put on this front, now I can be me and if friends aren’t coming along for the ride then they miss out 🙂

  • This is so true. I don’t understand why changing has such bad connotations, I’m proud I’m not the same person I was 6 months ago – I think there is value in changing when you’re evolving to be the person to aspire to be, and people should not put you down for that! x

    http://chloeharriets.com/

  • Change is a good thing. When I was a child I did things like a child, when I became and adult I did things as an adult. Just imagine being an adult doing things like a child. That’s not a good thing. Change is good.

  • lovely 🙂

  • Fave blog post I’ve ever read and so so relatable now! I’m so glad someone’s talking about such important things and how it’s okay to grow and change. I really needed to hear this! xx

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