I love Malcolm Gladwell’s work. The first book I ever read by him was The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference which led me to read Outliers which led me to read David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. He is a brilliant thinker and writer, and if you’re looking for something in the social psychology realm, you should definitely check him out.
I was listening to excerpts from an interview he gave, and one of the things he said really stood out to me:
“I feel I change my mind all the time. And I sort of feel 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.”
This is the story of my life. I’ve changed my political party. I’ve changed my views on marriage. I’ve changed my style. I’ve changed the state in which I lived. I even changed my stance on David Hasselhoff (he’s dead to me now).
Research shows that stagnant water is dangerous as it’s the perfect breeding ground for parasites, bacteria, and disease-transmitting mosquitoes. Flowing water doesn’t offer the same opportunity because the steady movement “cleans house” if you will.
I think this is an excellent metaphor for people. We thrive when there’s some forward momentum in our lives, when we’re allowing new life to be breathed into us on a daily basis.
There were many things that led up to me writing my last post. In my personal life I was struggling: with work, with eliminating certain people from my life, with crippling self-doubt, with a seemingly incurable loneliness. There was also something that happened last year here on WordPress (it requires its own post) that made me the undeserving target for a few very delusional, clearly unstable human beings.
So I quit. I quit certain people. I quit Facebook. I quit this blog. Essentially, I took all of my mental and emotional baggage, wrapped it up in a garbage bag, and threw that shit over a cliff. Then, as we all do when we don’t have any other choice, I got on with my life.
I took a vacation (that kind of turned out to be a nightmare).
I hung out with my homegirls.
I searched for hidden treasure with a few close friends.
I met a nice young man who helped me get dressed.
I enjoyed being an American.
During that time things changed for me. I began to process and digest everything that had happened to me. I let the anger and sadness and emotional exhaustion wash over me, and I was left with little life lessons I could keep in my pocket for future use.
Slowly, I began to miss this blog. This thing I had been so ready to burn to the ground was now something I wanted back into my life badly.
“Can I do that?” I must have asked myself that a dozen times. I’d be seen as a hypocrite, or as an attention-seeker, or someone who was too weak to stay away.
Then I realized I had been asking myself the wrong question. It wasn’t a matter of could I do this, it was a matter of why couldn’t I do it.
And that’s why I’m here. I challenged myself, and decided to update my position.
A lot has happened in the 6+ months I’ve been away, and I am not the same Jen today that I was then. I stopped wading around in stagnant water, and the new flow helped change my perspective on so many things. I’m looking at the world through an entirely different lens, and I can’t wait to share what I see with all of you.