5 Things I Changed My Mind about in the Last 5 Years

1) Publishing that book.

5 years ago I was deep in the rewriting of a specific book. I wasn’t determined to publish it, but I was entertaining the idea with coffee and cake. But then I came to a stopping place and I sent the book to my sister to read, and I had some life experiences and did some growing, and when I picked up the book again and read it I knew I wouldn’t publish it.

It’s not that it’s terrible. I don’t agree with everything I wrote, but I still enjoy reading it.

The problem is that as a story it came almost entirely from my brain. There’s little of my heart and soul in it, and there’s no message there that I want to send out into the world.

So while I still plan to publish a book, I won’t be publishing that book.


2) I don’t watch any sports.

I still don’t watch most sports, except bits and pieces as a vague observer when my husband is watching them, and it’s still weird to me to think I would be interested enough in any sport to consistently watch it. But probably if a person sets an alarm to wake herself up in the dark hours of the morning in order to watch live an F1 race that’s happening on the other side of the planet, she can’t reasonably deny that she is interested.

I still haven’t figured out why I am, though. It goes against all my preconceived notions about myself. But the 2023 season opens next weekend and I’ve been aware of that for months and I’m looking forward to it and I have no reasonable explanation.

But there it is. I watch a sport.


3) I should be Mennonite.

This was really just a gentler version of the belief I had as a child that went: if I don’t stay the exact version of Mennonite that I was born, I will go to actual hell when I die. Sometimes I consider the possibility that I was born into a cult. But I haven’t been the version of Mennonite that I was born for something like 10 years now and I’m not living in terror of torment after my death, so I did release that specific belief a while ago.

However, 5 years ago, I still believed that I should be Mennonite, whether I wanted to be or not. I’m not sure why. Mainly because that’s what I grew up as, I think. I do know exactly what changed my mind: it was the moment I realized that the only part of my life that would really change if I stopped being Mennonite was how I dressed.

I wasn’t entirely correct about that.

My life became a lot more peaceful since I’m not Mennonite, and with no one handing me a worldview and belief system, I’ve spent a lot of time sorting through beliefs and considering what is truth. I feel I’ve grown a lot because of that. I’ve had many relationships change, and some disappear entirely. My mind is less narrow and my view of myself has changed dramatically. Sum total, my life is much better now than it was 5 years ago.

And right now, I don’t think I should be Mennonite.


4) I can’t run a business.

I mainly thought this because I equated running a business with being an entrepreneur, and I’m not that. At least, not by nature. I’ve come across a reasonable amount of entrepreneurs-by-nature. They like starting things. They see business opportunities everywhere. There seems to be a little bubbling in the back of their mind all the time, like multiple pots on a stovetop. They are more motivated by getting than by keeping. They get excited by growth and innovation.

Not I, said the cat.

But I have a business, and I seem to be running it, and while it would probably be three times bigger if it was in the hands of one of the entrepreneurial humans of my acquaintance, I don’t really care. I am in this because I love my work and I think it helps people, not because business makes my heart go boom boom and I want to create many of them. It’s more important to me that I do it well and at a pace that I enjoy than it is that I do it big or ever again.

But even so, from where I’m sitting right now, I can run a business.


5) The most authentic things about me are the things I don’t choose.

For example, feelings. Not the only thing, but an easy one to explain: I used to think that if I chose to feel something, that made it probably fake.

But the more I learned about the way my mind and feelings work, the more I realized that I choose all my emotions – not exactly in the moment they’re triggered, but by my earlier choices. What I choose to put into my mind today, what I choose to think about and believe to be true, this creates what I will feel in response to the things that happen tomorrow.

So the more I become aware of this, the more regularly I can’t pretend like I didn’t choose to feel this way, and suddenly I was left with two options: either all my feelings are fake, or choosing them doesn’t make them fake. 

At the same time, I was developing another belief that I didn’t immediately connect to this: that choice is humanity’s superpower. I think that belief started from an annoyance with the popular opinion that you just can’t help who you are or are not in love with, and then grew from there. The more I looked, the more it seemed to me that every powerful thing we do is ultimately a choice.

But eventually I had to ask myself: how could I claim to believe that our choices are the truest measure of who we are, and then turn around and say that the most real things about me are the things that I didn’t choose? I couldn’t believe both.

So I chose. It’s the difference between believing who you are is something you find or something you create.

And I choose to believe that the most authentic things about me are the things I choose.

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