The molting process of humans is something not often discussed. By this, I mean the figurative shedding of our own skin and our old personalities as we become someone new. All of us change in order to survive. Each day, we learn lessons that influence who we are. Gradually, we evolve so that we make the progress we need to achieve our dreams.
They say our skin regenerates every 27 days. The overall effect is we look pretty much the same to anyone who interacts with us on a daily basis. But for someone who hasn’t seen us for months, or years, we have more wrinkles, dark spots, or sagging in our skin. Graying in our hair. And that’s just the visible differences. It’s the changes in personality and beliefs that are harder to spot.
Every day, we change in small ways
Someone who used to be a best friend a decade ago would say I like to eat fast food because of my busy schedule. I’m a writer who went from my work office desk straight to my home office desk to keep up with my writing schedule. Over the years, I remained as dedicated to my work, but health became a larger priority so my friend would be surprised that I eat healthy now. I’m still a writer, but I have increased obligations to family.
Sometimes it’s better to forget old grudges
I’m not the only one evolving over time. Your old enemy and untrustworthy friend is too. That person you hold a grudge against in high school, or the person that you don’t think belongs in your social circle simply because you don’t have common interests. I think we should keep an open mind that these people change and we should give them a second chance if we cross paths with them again. But do it with caution of course. In ten or twenty years, a person can change for the better, but also for worse.
You need to evolve to stay with your friends
People who stay friends over the decades need to evolve as well. A person changes their perspective on life as they grow from teenager to adult. A friend who was single a decade ago is getting used to being a dad, so evening hang outs have turned into quick visits in child-friendly environments. When I changed from employee to entrepreneur, another friend and I clashed in our work and financial values but we’ve learned to respect each other and stay best of friends.
I look at photos and see that I look similar. But the skin I used to have back then has been replaced. What I feared back then is not what I fear now. What I loved back then is not what I love now. Yes, I still like ice cream. I just don’t devour it in large quantities like I used to. It is very easy to think of time as moving forward while you remain static. However, I ask that you look at the people you’ve known for more than three years in a new light. Pretend it’s your first time meeting them. What do you see?
People tend to fear change because it suggests becoming uncomfortable. It suggests more work as you learn to adapt. And it suggests you’ll be left out if you don’t go along with it by adapting to the changes in your lifestyle, to the changes in the people around you. I say embrace both the nostaglia and the unknown. Be the leader that inspires others to be a better person and lead others to change with you.