I saw an old friend this week. We had a lovely day catching up on each others lives, a wonderful lunch and quite a few laughs. Inevitably, we took the usual trip down memory lane; mostly the work lane. We chatted about the people we remembered, who we were still in touch with – the usual stuff really. We hadn’t seen each other for about eleven years but it was a comfortable, easy-going day.
Just before I left, my friend said ‘you haven’t changed a jot’ with a smile. Although I smiled back, inside I felt a little diminished – hadn’t I changed at all, hadn’t I grown, hadn’t my experiences changed me at all? Perhaps he saw what he wanted to see – the person he knew all those years ago. Or perhaps in reality I was still the person I was. This got me thinking – do people never really change, does the core of who we are, the younger version of us stay in tact forever? Is there in fact a finite period of human growth?
After some fifty years on this planet, I hope I have more knowledge, more experiences of places and people and thus a greater understanding of the human condition (and myself). I’ve never shirked from ‘lifting the stone’ and looking at the underbelly of life, I haven’t had personal experience of it – I’ve been lucky – but I know it’s there. Some people I’ve met refuse to look at it, refuse to acknowledge that life is sh*t for a lot of people, refuse to accept that life doesn’t treat everyone the same, but I don’t. That in itself has changed me.
As to the core of who I am, I still have the same values, the same drivers, the same insecurities, the same strengths – they are just wrapped in an older body now. Have I learned from my mistakes? Do I repeat the same actions again and expect a different outcome (can’t remember who said that)? I’m not sure I can answer that honestly – perhaps that is the core of change, to manage who you are, better.
What do you think? Do we change, or fundamentally stay the same? What effects change in us humans? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Categories: Just Plain Blog