You Are Not You

Have you ever told someone an anecdote from your past, perhaps about one of your youthful indiscretions, and then heard them say, “Really? You did that? I can hardly imagine!” Maybe, you even agreed with them. “Neither can I!”

If not for laughs, then at least thinking quietly to yourself, I’m sure you’ve experienced this. A memory including your former self that, today, feels so far away, it seems unfathomable that the person in the story was you. “Was that really me? It seems like that was someone else altogether.” That’s because it was. You were someone else. But now you’re not.

It’s easy to excuse ourselves from making a change, especially when the change is hard. “I’ve always been bad at running. There’s no way I can get better now.” But you are not “just you,” the same you you’ve always been. From one day to the next, it sure feels that way. But year after year, decade after decade? Almost nothing about you is fixed.

You are not who you were ten years ago, so there’s no reason why you must be the same you you were yesterday either. You are not you. All of “you” is in the past. You are only whoever you choose to be today. That choice can be one that makes people say, “Oh yeah, that totally sounds like him!” but it can also be one that makes them — even you — react with something like, “Really? You did that? I can hardly imagine!”