In which I ponder former selves

How much have I changed? Andy McKenzie and Ben Casnocha wrote recently about the wisdom of former selves. Their posts reminded me of a note I jotted down the other day:

Things that, while I was in college, I wish I’d had/made more time to learn about: film, psychology, business, economics.

Things that, since college, I’ve found myself learning more and more about, without applying any special focus: film, psychology, business, economics.

Which relates to another note-to-self from a few weeks ago:

Some careers I considered, ages 5-15: archaeologist, carpenter, National Geographic explorer, SWAT team, writer, conductor.

Plus ça change… I would, for the most part, still have interest in certain aspects of these (maybe even the whole thing). Discovery, craft, research, suspense, mastery, performance. And over the past few weeks I’ve spent some time re-reading my journals from previous long hikes and travel. It’s both amusing and a little frustrating that some of the same ideas that consume me now popped up 1, 3, 5, 10 years ago. Or some of the really funny and observant things I wrote could have been written yesterday. As Andy writes:

It’s harder to construct a personal narrative of growth when the sentences showing that you used to be just as sweet remain visible.

Just makes me wonder if I’m really changing that much (do I want to?), or if I’m just becoming more like me. The metaphor that comes to mind is like when you’re downloading a large image file, and it gradually becomes less and less pixelated. Same Mark, more data, more detail.

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