Coming face to face with yourself of five years ago

This post isn’t as science fiction as the title makes it seem.

The other day I was going over some old postings I’ve made to my college messageboard (the fact that my 5-year college reunion is coming up is strictly coincidental, I promise!)  These postings go back until just after I left college, though they are fairly sporadic. It’s amazing to me how, the farther I go back in time, the less I resemble the person that I was both in the tenor and substance of the arguments I made.

The really strange thing is that I did the same thing about two years ago, and at that time I was very comfortable and confident that those posts resembled who I was at that time.  I wonder if the window of personality sameness is 3-5 years, and I’m falling out of that window, or if it’s just that I have grown a great deal in the past few months.

But that’s the thing — we all change over time.  The same person, fives years apart, can be as different as two totally different people are.  I don’t think that’s true of me.  I’ve been pretty consistent, and I’m unsure as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I guess if I had any advice for my 5-years-ago self, it would be: you’re on the right track, but don’t get comfortable.  If you have a choice between relaxing and being complacent and doing something that stirs things up, do the latter.  Actually, that’s probably good advice for anyone at any time.

Do you have any old writings you could review?  I wish I had logs of all the IRC and ICQ chatting I did when I was in high school. If you’ve been using gmail, it keeps track of everything, which is a nice feature, but it could also be college or high school papers or letters to loved ones.  If you have any, I recommend you take some time and read them and reflect on who you were.

What advice would you have for yourself of the past?  Do you like who you were and do you like who you are?  Why?

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One Response

  1. I don’t think there is anything wrong with consistency, so long as it’s a healthy sort of thing and still is always improving on a minor level. To me it is constant growth, building upon building. I have an idea and over the years it strengthens and strengthens because I always look for and repair the weaknesses.

    To me, someone who does a 180 isn’t someone completely sure of themselves. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all—it’s good to search and weigh your options. But if you wake up one day and you’re forty, and still doing the turnaround every few years..that’s when it becomes a bit worrisome. You can always change, that’s the great thing about life, but unfortunately constantly going through the revolving door and coming out new is taxing on people. To me that would be far too unstable, but that it just my personality. Other people enjoy it quite a bit, they like reinventing themselves.

    I’ve kept nearly every email since I got an email address (probably in about 2001). And even before that I’ve always kept journals to sort of gauge my progress. Change has always been something that has interested me. I had a teacher who made us write letters to ourselves in junior high that she later sent to us when we were in highschool. It was very fascinating to read, to really see how my thinking had changed (she had us write on subjects that we would give opinions about). I have changed, definitely, but that all goes with the adolescent/teenage years. What is strange is that I’ve always been relatively the same in my views, it’s actually been my behavior towards others and my goals in life that have changed. My views have just become more specified, and what I was on the inside is much more visible now, which I guess came with experience. I look back at my journals and I see a novice of my personality, then it sort of expands and expands as I turn the pages, and what I am now becomes visible.

    I read this survey awhile ago about how most people think they have changed very little over the years. What was funny is that most of them had changed drastically. I guess when you go at the snail-like pace of life it’s easy to lose track if you forget to write things down….

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