I was thinking in the car on the way to work today how disjointed a lot of the phases of my life seem. When I think of what I was doing at 18 compared to at 23, and then again at 28, it hardly seems like it’s all been done by the same person. Today I’m a programmer, living and working in Silicon Valley, California. Five years ago I was an editor in a publishing company in London. Three years ago I was backpacking around the world. Ten years ago I was a trainee chartered accountant. It’s not just my location and job that have changed – I’ve moved through phases of friendships, mostly dictated by my job and location, and sadly many of them have been transient. It’s like I’ve lived through lots of little mini-ages of time, looking for the right niche to settle into.
I was wondering about whether or not I’m still the same person inside, and whether people do change, or whether you actually stay the same deep-down all your life. I have many, many different opinions and ideas about the world now compared to even a couple of years ago, let alone over the last decade or longer. So I think my conclusion is that you do change inside, even if it’s not apparent to those who have known you all your life. But then, on the other hand, I also think there are some ‘core’ parts of you which will never alter, no matter what happens.
I’ve had opinions which I thought were solid in-built definitions of the kind of person I was. And yet they’ve sneakily, and unnoticeably, changed completely, until suddenly I find that I genuinely believe the exact opposite of something I once said or thought. I’m sure this is not unusual, so what’s changing here – is it personality, or is it just a refinement of belief? I can’t decide. Surely over time, if this happens enough, you could morph into a completely different person without being aware of it? Or is there something else that makes you who you are, and it doesn’t matter what you believe or feel, you are still the same underneath in the way that you believe or feel it?
I could speculate over this for ages, illustrating it with lots of boring examples from my own experience, but since I want you to come back and visit again, I’ll stop now and go and do something less philosohpical.
PS I got my computer back today. I lost everything on it, (which luckily wasn’t a lot), and now it’s all fresh as a daisy and I get to spend half a day customising Windows and reinstalling software. Beware of thunderstorms in the US. Of course, my Linux box is just fine, but I’m not going to comment further on that today.