A couple weekends ago, Chris and I attended his 25 year high school class reunion. Any time we see people who knew us when we were high school sweethearts, they always say “You haven’t changed at all!”
Which is patently untrue; we’re both much heavier than we were in high school. But having just seen a roomful of former schoolmates who are practically unrecognizable, I can kind of see what they mean. I mean, Chris still has a full head of hair, and it’s (mostly) still the same dark brown. I still get carded when buying alcohol.
But the truth is, neither of us is the same person we were when we got married at 18. I read once that you replace all the material in your body every seven years. If that’s true, we’re at least three whole people removed from who we were back then. Our consciousnesses have gotten a totally refurbished wetware platform least three times.
And that’s to say nothing of how much we’ve changed on the inside.
I’m admittedly a “late bloomer.” I’m neither proud nor ashamed of that; it is what it is. I am proud of the direction I chose to grow in, once maturity started to kick in. When the various turning points in my life came, I’m generally pleased with the choices I’ve made. Or at worst, I accept that they were the best choices I could make at the time.
Right now, I’m looking back and reflecting on a lot of those decisions. I’m questioning a lot of the assumptions that have brought me to this particular place in my life. In the past two weeks, I’ve read two different books notable for having an “unreliable narrator,” Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Gene Wolfe’s The Sorceror’s House. It’s funny how the fiction I pick ends up being relevant to my real life in interesting ways.
When you look back at your story with an open mind, you begin to notice all the inconsistencies. You realize that the person telling the story back then didn’t have all the information, or saw it through biases you can now see past. You see how unreliable your own narration might have been.
I’m asking myself “If I knew then what I know now, would I do things differently?” And probably most importantly, “For the things I would like to have done differently, is now the time to do it that way?”