Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“You Haven’t Changed a Bit”

The snow is receding.  The sun is shining.  The sky is blue. The temperature is rising.  The grass is growing and showing hints of green.  Spring has sprung.  Soon there will be “picking up winter debris, weed-pulling, edging, mowing, and trimming chores” to be done.  Meanwhile, here I sit in my comfortable study, pondering what was, what is, and what is yet to come.  This “ruminating,” as a friend calls it, is one of the great privileges (or burdens) of being liberated (retired).

There is a tendency to “look back” in these early morning hours, to sort through the “filing cabinets of memories.”  To know my own history and to examine it with care is just as important as knowing “history” in the political, social and economic spheres.  “The unexamined life,” as Socrates wrote centuries ago, “is not worth living.”  

“Life is tedious,” (synonyms: boring, dull, monotonous, repetitive, unrelieved and unvaried) someone once told me and indeed it would be, if all one did was to look back and live in memories.  Life moves on and there is no standing still.  The past is important only when it is used as an instructive guide for the present moment, both in our personal life and our national life.  

“You haven’t changed or aged a bit,” we often say to those we haven’t seen in a while. In some ways this statement is true—for there is something “enduring” in our personalities.  It was there the moment we were born and all our growth, experiences, and development, in education or social standing, do not change it.  (Attending a high school reunion after 50 years will convince you).  Yes, I’ve changed and I’ve grown, but the basic “me” is still there.  While my thinking has changed, the foundation for what I think now can be found “back there” in the person I have been.  When people tell you that you haven’t aged a bit—they are telling a fib (and they know it) but when they say ,“You haven’t changed a bit” there is a sliver of truth!  

Nope!  Haven't changed a bit!

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