“You are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.”
— Alan Watts
I just put in a little treatment for old posts:
Over time I am going to start bringing in older and older posts from my old blog, dot unplanned. I took much of it down several years ago during a big web reorg, but I want to start putting some of it back in place. It’s me, in one way or another.
For a long while I didn’t think much of what was in there. I guess that was a product of not thinking of myself as a dynamic person. I was just me, had been me, continued to be me.
I am not going to claim any transformational moment or conversion. I just know that one day I went to look something up I had written years earlier and realized I didn’t completely recognize the author.
At that particular moment the things that jumped out at me were my coarseness and my anger. Strange to realize that the very first entry I ever wrote in dot unplanned was some time in 2002. I’d been out of the army for less than five years, and the year previous had contemplated getting recalled to duty.
The version of me writing in 2002 was still angry about what I’d experienced, felt deeply uncomfortable around people for fear of being judged, and still talked the way I’d learned to talk to get along in the barracks.
When I play the “this is to then as then was to …” game I realize that I am to the person writing in 2002 as that person was to me at nine years old.
Those old posts have been with me the entire time, though. Once I realized how much value they had for telling me where I’d been, and for making me sit with the discomfort of decades-old ideas and behaviors I’d once thought just fine, I started looking forward to the “on this day” reminder I got from the journaling tool I put them all in. Each day provides an opportunity to look back. Some days I remember exactly what I was thinking, other days I have no idea and would have bitterly denied ever talking that way or thinking that way.
Whatever turns up, I own all of it. That treatment at the top of those older posts is not so much an excuse as it is a reminder.