Still the Same

Here’s a point that i keep coming back to, that i’m constantly dwelling on, that lingers beneath all my understanding and insight and acceptance like some spectral skeleton:

From the perspective inside ourselves, from the point of view of the people we are, from the other side of the lens that our experience and understanding and vision makes, nothing ever changes.

I turn forty-five tomorrow, and despite all my lingering feelings of being annoyed at how stupidly fucking fast my life is speeding by me, the reality is that i don’t feel any different now than i did last year, or the year before that, or ten years before that, or twenty before that. I’m lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on your perspective) to be able to remember most of my life, and one of the side-effect benefits/detriments of that is being able to remember how it felt to be me at pretty much any particular point in that life. And though it seems odd and counterintuitive in equal measure, every stage of my life has felt pretty much the same.

Sure, the context of who we are changes fairly drastically. Things we wish we knew then become things we know now and will forget tomorrow. Things that were important in the past take on increased or diminished weight with the passage of time. But in the end, the perception that filters the things we know, the things the need, the things we dream — it’s all a continuum. It’s a steady line of understanding and experience that carries us through our lives, and thinking about this fact is important. Because it reminds us that the impression that nothing ever changes is ultimately false, and it reminds us that change is a small thing, is an incremental thing.

It reminds us that we can change, even as our perception tells us we are static. It reminds us that we are the embodiment of change. And that as long as the changes in our lives are small things adding to a larger whole, changing the smallest part of who we are lets us change the shape of that whole to be anything we want.