20 June 2012

my version of the lake house

There have been periods of my life during which I undergo serious self-examination. These reevaluations may be triggered by various stimuli, the most common of which is meeting someone for the first time (or, unfortunately, during a job interview). Painful self-awareness kicks in, and I have no choice but to consider the impression I must have made.

Of course, such self-analysis does not always begin that way. Sometimes, it starts when I realize that something I take for granted about myself does not necessarily apply to others. For instance, my jaw locks when I eat something too sweet, and even just the thought of booger makes me want to vomit.

Most recently, I decided that I wanted to reread Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, because I read it in high school and forgot about it until I saw it sitting at the bottom (of course) of a stack of books in my room and let my curiosity get the better of me.

I found that I couldn't read it because I kept getting distracted by the annotations I had made previously, and was compelled to take a pen and start a discourse with my fifteen-year-old self. She had read it, sure, but she didn't comprehend it. So, naturally, I took a different colored pen and started over, taking note of what past me had missed and feeling better about my current intellect.

The funny this was, I could see how the messages of the novel resonated with me, even now, but by looking at my past annotations, I would not guess that I absorbed anything. Regardless, I came to the conclusion that past me was stupid, and present me is infinitely more observant.

conversations with myself

Then, I realized that in a few years, present me would be past me, and future me would think that she was stupid, too. After all, isn't that what growing up is? Thinking that you are so much smarter than you were before (regardless of whether or not it's true)?

But undergoing this self-examination often results in change, whether it be of a mannerism or way of thinking, that I perceive to be a step toward personal improvement.

But what if I was wrong? What if that change was only a good idea because of the circumstance, but ultimately was a step backward? How do I know that if something I'm doing now to fix a problem of mine is actually a solution?

Short answer: I don't. No one really does. In fact, it's when someone says that they know everything that they reveal themselves to know very little. And that's why I think it's okay that I have conversations with myself through time.

I have to check myself, after all, before I wreck myself.

Yes, I went there.


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