In life, we try a lot of things. Maybe not as much as we should, but we do. Eventually, we tried strawberry flavored milk (eh) and putting hot-sauce on our brownies. We tried things out. We had our first kisses, drinks, and decided what we liked and what we didn’t. Very quickly, we created an identity for ourselves; we like whiskey and can’t handle tequila, or maybe that we can only date girls who have strong opinions on the Jay-Z/Nas beef. Whatever the case, in college we can feel like we already have settled into ourselves and are focused on moving forward. But going backward can be equally valuable.

 

* You’ve changed

If you tried something before and didn’t like it or couldn’t do it, it’s easy to move on from that experience. It can easily become part of your identity, too, for better or worse. Growing up, I was terrified of needles. I hated them and hated shots. I intended to run away from home once rather than go to the doctor to get another set of shots. “I don’t need shots anyway” I reasoned at the age of six. “Cavemen didn’t have them and they were fine. I should just live in a cave.” That’s how much I hated needles. I was prepared to move to a cave.

Flash forward to last winter. My mother insists I get a flu shot and I make up excuses. I defer, explain I’ll be fine, hem and haw, and circle around the issue that somewhere in my head I decided I was scared of needles as a kid. It didn’t matter I was six then, and was scared equally of mummies: I had already made up my mind as to who I was.

Finally, I went in. I had two beers for courage, then another one because, hey, screw it, and found it to be the easiest thing in the world. If you’ve decided you can’t do something, or you’re afraid of it, or anything like that, remember: you’ve changed from that age and time. Advance.

* The World’s Changed

Okay, let’s say that example doesn’t work. Maybe you’ve always been the same, and you always will be. You’ve had no fears or complexes from earlier ages. Great.

What do you think about baseball, though?

Maybe you watched it offhand at the age of twelve and decided it wasn’t for you. Or maybe it was; maybe like me you watched your team and followed the box-scores earnestly but still had a book or magazine during the boring, slow pace of the game.

Try drinking when watching baseball.

Suddenly everything makes sense. It clicks; Baseball is suddenly much more exciting, and the pace feels a lot quicker. Long family gatherings? Equally improved with two glasses of wine. It’s not just substances, though. Did you give up on an idea for being unrealistic as a kid? In the age of the internet, maybe you can make your own video game or show. Did you want to be a lawyer growing up? Maybe the economic downturn has changed your priorities to social activism. Whatever it is, reconsider what you always thought you could or should do. The changing world offers changing opportunities.

It’s Good to Double Check

Another example: As a kid I always thought I hated asparagus. I tried it again; turns out I do hate asparagus. But sometimes it’s good to make sure. Even if you think you know something, it’s nice to know it, too.