You should change. The habits that annoy you, the things you never apologized for, the future you know you could reach if you just straightened up your life a bit. Those bits, yes. By all means, tidy up the attic in your brain, stoke the fires of your motivation. That’s all peripheral.
But you shouldn’t change.
Because there are so many people out there that don’t want you, anyway. Not really. They want someone to talk at, who will feed them the nudges of approval their words feast on. They want someone to idolize or someone to roll their eyes at behind backs. They want something to pad the silence of a living room on a Wednesday night, or a smile over food set on a table. They want someone to file those reports yesterday, someone to network them up a promotion.
Anyone will do, so much of the time.
Sometimes it’s not liberating, this realization, that your body could be claw craned out and replaced with another arcade prize human. But it should be. You are in this place and in this time, and just like you need those humans for all the little reasons (anyone want to grab a coffee?) they need you too. Or Pete. Or Lila. But it’s you here, in these snippets of time, among these scattered marbles of people. You’re just as randomly positioned as the rest of them. And so many of them are just the same thing to you: passing faces on the subway platform as you race towards the exit; the only thing standing between you and 8 oz. of caffeine; someone you think you love, but really, it’s just the idea of them that you’ve fallen for.
And then it flips.
Sometimes, seemingly always by dumb luck, people will come tripping into your life. You know that when they look at you, it’s you they see, not just another conversational ping pong paddle, not someone who might get drunk enough to make mistakes with them. A person steps off the bus trying to swallow their embarrassed snort, and you know it almost physically — oh, this is one of my people. Small talk is never small, and this isn’t how things go with the rest of humanity. This is a person who you will take the time for, who you share belly laughs with. You tuck these people into your pocket, save them for your rainy day talks. The little things all become big with them.
Because when you meet the ones who come into your life and you know they will always stay, you wouldn’t want to be anyone else. If you camouflage your edges, the right puzzle pieces won’t find where they fit.
Don’t buy fool’s gold.