Permission to Evolve

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There's a sense of security that comes with identifying with a group, a title, a way of life.

We are attachment parents.

We are minimalists.

We are farm-to-table foodies.

We are crossfitters.

We will always public school.

There are a million little decisions throughout each day... and having a formula to refer back to can be helpful... thus the sense of security. What's for dinner? Oh, yeah. We only eat paleo. So... something without grains or dairy. My son needs new clothes... we are 100% fair trade... so that eliminates a bulk of stores.

I totally understand the ease and freedom of fewer choices. There's comfort in an established trajectory... with all the ways life can ebb and flow, it's helpful to have one thing to stand on. One less thing you're unsure about. With each season of life, I find myself grasping for this very thing. In high school? It was preparation for college. In college? It was med school. Then, when those plans change, when our minds change, we find ourselves hiding under rocks overcome with shame... embarrassed that we've let go of our self-proclaimed identity.

May I give you permission to evolve?

I'm seeing this more and more in parenting. Moms so desperately want a safe place to land in all of the ambiguities of motherhood. We call ourselves "whatever" parents and form groups, sharing articles on social media, trying to win over the naysayers in our self-righteousness. But, when we are so hell-bent on our child not eating a single gram of sugar, what happens when the sweet neighbor next door bakes a cake for your toddler's birthday? When we are so insistent on zero screen time, but morning sickness with a subsequent pregnancy gives way to all-day sickness and PBS kids is the only way to distract our active toddler?

Permission to evolve.

There are some black and whites in parenting, I'll admit. Hold on to those ideals that are important to your family with a closed fist... but the others? Reassess. Reevaluate. It's okay to change your mind.

I was terrified of telling people in college that I wasn't planning on going to med school anymore... I felt that I had built myself up as the Girl Going to Med School, and that everyone would either feel smugly vindicated (I knew you wouldn't do it!) or disappointed (You're giving up?). But, what I quickly realized as I began to allude to the fact that I was kind-of, sort-of, maybe tossing around the idea of doing something else with my life was...

No one cared.

They cared in the sense that they wanted me to succeed and (for lack of better words) be happy. But no one else had pinned their own hopes and dreams on my medical career. In fact, no one was really thinking about me as much as I thought they were.

The same is true for all of the other arenas of life in which we find ourselves grasping for identities. No one cares if you give your five-year-old a package of Goldfish rather than organic baby carrots (I mean, there are  likely some internet crones that care but... haters gonna hate). The people who know you and love you likely know every layer and facet of you. They know you aren't going to casually toss aside any of the aforementioned identities. They know you. They love you. They know and love your kids.

So, here is my permission to you... you are allowed to grow and evolve. You are allowed to be a different person than you were five years ago. In fact, I sincerely hope you ARE a different person than you were five years ago. We are always growing and changing, and likely our attitudes and preferences will be growing and changing as well.

And, if that bothers someone, well... haters gonna hate. It's fine. You're defined by Jesus. That's the ultimate opinion, anyway.


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