I have been in a reflective mood lately. I don’t know why but I have been thinking of things of life. Pretty deep huh?? One of those things is how I feel about myself and my experiences of life. The Mark Twain quote below pretty well sums up one aspect.
I am old. I recognize it but I don’t realize it. I wonder if a person really ever ceases to feel young – I mean for a whole day at a time.
I don’t really see myself as an old guy like I saw my grandfather (I only knew one). He was old and as far as I was concerned he must have always been old as that is only how I knew him. Like everyone else, in the mid-twenties when my brain finally settled into something resembling stasis my reflective self was pretty much established. To this day I really don’t see myself at much different from I was during those years.
Yes, I have made a lot of mistakes and learned from them in the four decades since but I still see myself as a young man looking for adventures in life but far too often settling for less. I just don’t feel old, mentally that is. I have never discussed this with anyone that I know of so I really don’t know if Mark Twain and I are the only ones who have this feeling but I kind of doubt it.
Maybe part of my reflective mood is a result of a couple of books I am currently reading. One is entitled You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. Another is Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Both these books show how we fool ourselves into remembering things that just didn’t happen or were completely different from what we remember. They are very interesting reads into the biased nature of human personal beliefs. I often wonder how these sort of things affected the biblical stories so many of us hold so dear, but that is for another post on another blog.
I wonder how much of my previous years’ remembrances are self-contrived? I like most people I suppose forget some of the things in life that were too embarrassing or painful and replace them with an alternative story? It is not that we do it on purpose but that really doesn’t make much difference to me. I will have to do a more thorough review of these two books in a future post. They are pretty insightful into the nature of human memory and explain many of those so firmly stuck in one political or religious worldview.
Getting back to my reflective mood, I am not lamenting my past but instead I am just trying to understand what kind of lessons I might have learned and how they have shaped who I am now. I think I have grown immensely since I retired from the work-a-day world more than thirteen years ago. I am finally beginning to grow into the person I was striving to be during all those younger years. That is a nice feeling.