I've been thinking about time lately. Namely, getting older, and the strangeness you feel when you look back at your younger self and see the contrast between you then and you now. I have a vivid recollection of how I thought and felt then, and see remnants of in myself still yet also sense where I have changed, where my boundless optimism has hardened up a little, and where my eagerness has become tempered with caution. It's apparent in the way I hold a little of myself back now when I meet new people, in the way it matters less if someone doesn't want to be my friend, in the way I think about the days to come.
It's a little bittersweet to hold up the past against your present and see where the lines overlap and where they just don't anymore. It's not a sadness but a wistfulness perhaps, a sense of loss lingering behind the inevitability.
I have been thinking lately about how to maintain a softness in my heart despite disappointments, how to not carry the burden of scars where other people have been clumsy or careless with me or downright malicious. I am not a wide-eyed fawn: things happen, people have their motivations, that's how things are I guess. Part of growing up seems to be how you engage with what faces you. How you choose to respond to people and how you choose to face yourself when you see unfamiliar and unwanted parts of your self rising up behind your teeth. The choice of deciding to be one way and not another, and the decisiveness it takes not to allow yourself to gradually tumble into some other selfhood that you haven't invited but that slowly overtakes who you were.
I guess my eyes are being opened and I feel on the cusp of something. Thinking through making selves and presentations of selves, I am realising that I have a choice in the quality and nature of my character and the outworkings of that to other people.
Looking back, I feel a wistfulness but also a shrug. What's funny is that I am still so young- not even twenty-five (and the teens reading this will be all 'TWENTY-FIVE? That's ancient!' And I used to think that too and yet here I am, two weeks away from a new number and feeling fine)- and those older than me might be rolling their eyes, all 'yeah, we realised that too. Newsflash: people get older.'
But for me, this is the first time, and it feels somehow momentous.