At every stage of our lives we make decisions that will profoundly influence the lives of the people we’re going to become, and then when we become those people, we’re not always thrilled with the decisions we made. So young people pay good money to get tattoos removed that teenagers paid good money to get. Middle-aged people rushed to divorce people who young adults rushed to marry. Older adults work hard to lose what middle-aged adults worked hard to gain. On and on and on. The question that fascinates me is, why do we make decisions that our future selves so often regret?
All of us are seemingly walking around with an illusion, an illusion that history, our personal history, has just come to an end, that we have just recently become the people that we were always meant to be and will be for the rest of our lives.
Why is this so? And why is it that most of us can remember who we were 10 years ago, but we find it hard to imagine who we are going to be, and then we mistakenly think that because it’s hard to imagine, it’s not likely to happen? It’s a pity, when people say “I can’t imagine that,” they are usually talking about their own lack of imagination, and not about the unlikelihood of the event that they’re describing.
The answer unto all this is time. Time is a powerful force. It transforms our preferences. It reshapes our values. It alters our personalities. We seem to appreciate this fact, but only in retrospect. Only when we look backwards do we realize how much change happens in a decade. It is as if, for most of us, the present is a magic time. It is the moment at which we finally become ourselves. Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.
(c) 2016 viewpointsofandrei.com