Past, Present and Future Selves

Today, I decided to embark on the arduous task of adding tags to my post. For the uninitiated, tags/categories are ways to group posts on a blog based on some common theme. I used to tag my posts regularly when I was using Blogspot, but when I moved to WordPress, I decided to redo all of them because I was in the mood for change. Of course, that project promptly got suspended when I couldn’t be witty on demand and my posts remained woefully tag-free and uncategorised. Having made my mind up to correct that today, I set about re-reading all my posts to figure out the best way to group and tag them.

When you blog as infrequently as I do/did, you don’t really need to re-read posts to know what they’re about. Sometimes, you can even remember specific paragraphs and sentences, especially if you spent a lot of time “perfecting” posts to be free of all the things you’re nitpicky about. Still, as I went back to the origins of my blog and read some of the very early posts that graced these pages, I couldn’t help but be surprised. Unpleasantly so. The style, the choice of vocabulary, the tone, even the content… they were all so different back then! It’s hard to imagine that those early posts and these recent ones have had the same brain formulating the thoughts, and the same fingers typing the words, because they could easily have come from two separate people.

It’s been over 8 years since I wrote that first post, and in that time, I have morphed into someone totally different. I don’t agree with half the things I’ve written about, I’ve grown to like the things I said I hated and vice versa, and I honestly cringe at the writing style. That stream-of-consciousness flow of words, the out-of-control ellipses, the multiple punctuation marks, the excessive use of emoticons, the teenage slang… *shudder*. (That physical-action-inside-asterisks thing, too.) I wish I could erase those posts from existence (because how embarrassing), but I guess they do represent a side of me and a phase in my youth. In a way, they’re a reminder that people change (often quite drastically) and that judging people for their opinions or the way use run-on sentences (especially if they’re young) is silly. (Believe me, I need reminding of this!) It also reminds me that there were people in my own life who didn’t judge me for who I was, even when that was completely different from who they were, and that makes me appreciate them more.

Writing style and opinions on books and movies are trivial, but this whole thing has gotten me thinking… at what age do we stop changing? I know that I did a lot of growing up during my university years (mostly due to a combination of being in a new environment, away from home, and the people I hung out with), but almost 5 years post-university, I don’t feel like I’ve stopped changing. I know they say that change is the only constant thing, but I do believe that at some point in their lives, people become set in their ways and tend to stay that way. I’m not sure if I’ve reached that stage yet. I look back on the things I wrote/said/did 10 years ago and realise I can no longer relate to that person. What will it be like 10 years from now? When will I become the person I will be for the rest of my life?

This question becomes particularly pertinent to me in the context of finding a “suitable” life partner. We all know the friends we had when we were younger that we’d never be friends with if we met them now. I think about the kind of partner I would’ve chosen for myself 10 years ago, and realise he probably wouldn’t be compatible with Present Me. So if I choose someone now, how can I be sure he’ll still be someone I can relate to 10 years from now? Would it help if we’re both at that point where we don’t change any more? Or would we somehow be able to change together? Who knows.

I guess the important thing is that as embarrassed as I am by Past Me, I don’t regret her. She did her thing, she was happy, she didn’t feel ashamed of herself at the time. She hung out with people who understood her and who related to her, and she did/said/wrote things she believed in. And at the end of the day, that’s sort of all that matters, right? If you’re happy with the person you are right now, there’s no need to worry about what you were like in the past, or what you’re going to be like in the future. And that sort of applies to the people around you as well. Be happy with who they are right now, and hopefully, you’ll be happy with who they are in the future as well.

So, Future Me, if you’re reading this, before you go judging and criticising, remember that at this moment, I’m happy with myself. In fact, I’d go so far as to say… I wouldn’t change a thing. 😉

P.S. I used all my brain juice on this post, so I haven’t gotten down to actually categorising my posts yet. Tag-free for another day!

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