Friday, August 10, 2018

Oh...Is That My Bellybutton?

People in general are really bad at knowing themselves.

We tend to think that what we think right now is what we've always thought. There are studies about this. People will answer a series of questions, time will pass, they are given the same questions and also asked if their opinions have changed. Frequently they have, but the test results show that they don't think they have. And even when shown their original answers they don't think that's right. They will try and discount what past them ACTUALLY thought because present them doesn't agree.

The other problem is in trying to predict what future us will be like. We tend to think we will be the same. Even though we know that we aren't the same as we were ten or twenty years ago. We've grown up so much since then. You aren't nearly as whatever you were in your twenties as you are now. Or you are much more whatever you are now than you were then. It makes sense. We grow up and we change. Even if we can't seem to keep in our minds that means that our opinions about issues change as well, not just our behaviors. But anyway, we know we are different than we were, but if you are asked what you will be like in 10 or 20 years from now you are pretty sure you will be basically the same,  just older.

Spoiler alert, you won't be.

I've talked before that I feel like I have less of this as an issue. I know I'm not the same person I was. I know I have really different beliefs in some areas than I used to have. I think it comes from having that seismic shift in religious beliefs. I know that the me I was at 15 would not be able to wrap her head around the me at almost 50. I'm a really different person. Now, even saying that, I will also say that there are basics to my personality that are the same. Things that have stuck with me as the foundation of who I am, but what I do with that? How it informs the way I view the world? That has all changed. And the me I am today will continue to change.

I've gotten a little bit of a reminder of that this week as I've started printing and sorting blogs. I started writing what were basically mini-blogs on MySpace. That tells you how long I've been at it. Wait, actually I started before that with a blog that Brent and I shared. My first blog post was a political one (I know you are shocked) and my first commenter on it was Raquel who still reads my blog to this day. The blog was short. It was right after Oregon voters passed a bill that added discrimination in to the constitution by a margin of of something like 53% to 47%. I was devastated. It was 2004 and I was living in a very liberal state (comparatively) and still the vote went down in a way that shocked me. So things that haven't changed, I'm still all in for equal rights. I still write political blogs. I still get shocked sometimes (though much less frequently since 2016) about the way other people think. And Raquel still reads my stuff.

But back to the MySpace posts. They had a feature that was more than a status update, less than a full on blog. I used it for mini-blogs that were almost diary entries. When I switched to Facebook I transferred all of those posts to Notes and then when they changed how they formatted that I found Blogger and moved them all here. So I have a record of what I was thinking about since 2007. Which 2007 and 2008 were really busy years. I was in school for massage therapy, I was working full time at L/N, working part time for DNW (were those the initials or was it DI? anyway...) and doing the mom and wife thing. I remember that time period pretty vividly. And by vividly I mean I remember the overall feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed to capacity.

Which re-reading those posts I was. But I was also sure I was embarking on THE thing. That I had finally found THE thing that I was meant to do. Even though there were one or two more self aware posts where I would tag in the "I don't know why I think this, I mean I've changed things I do so often..." or the "I wonder if I'm just doing this as a way to get out..." but mostly it was this was it! And I know I really felt that way. After all I was leaving a job that paid about 3 times more than I was going to be making in the new career. I was opening myself up to a career that is completely people focused, you don't get to take days 'to yourself' and still earn money. I was so sure that that was it.

And then I got hurt.

But that's not entirely true. I had already figured out that that was not in fact it. That I only liked working on friends and felt weird having them pay me. I didn't want to get out there and market myself and work on strangers and do more shows and company wellness events. The thing that I enjoyed had turned in to a job and I didn't enjoy it anymore. It had been, in fact, a way out. An excuse I could use to get out of a situation I did not want to be in anymore without feeling like a quitter.

So I sort of knew myself, and sort of didn't. I mean there was that little part of me that was like, "girl, you are kidding yourself here" but mostly I was pretty sure that me in ten years would still be working as a massage therapist, probably with a nice solid practice of two or three people a day, maybe still out of the basement, but maybe in a cute little office space sharing with a few other practitioners who did other modalities.

But reading those blogettes ten years later I had to shake my head. I worked so hard for something that I did not retain it's kind of amazing. Sort of like piano. And the first time I took Spanish. And bookkeeping. And advertising. And...

Well, you get the point.

Even knowing who I am, I forget who I am. That core personality that I talked about? The one that drives me to make challenges and set goals and keep Faceboook because there is too much interesting stuff on there. That core personality? Well it's always there. But the rest? It's always changing. I am not who I was ten years ago in a lot of ways. The me who was talking about turning 39 would look at the me who is in her last week of 49 and wonder what the hell happened to our dream of being LMT Extraordinaire! And I am pretty sure the 59 year old me will look back at those two and wonder how I could have ever thought, believed, done, something. I don't know what just yet, I mean I'm pretty sure I'm perfect right now, but I'm also pretty sure I won't think I was when I look back.

I'm loving these blogettes. And now that I'm in to the bigger blogs I'm loving them too. I am going to be able to watch the shift in a fast forward. I've already seen changes in who was commenting back then, and how. And I'm looking forward to the days where I decided to be a brave little toaster and start publishing my short stories. Because I'm pretty sure that being a writer is THE thing. The one that I am supposed to be doing with my life.

It couldn't be anything else right?

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