Every once in a while, I look at pieces of my everyday life and have to do a double-take. It might happen while I’m looking in my closet at the clothes I bought in Houston during Institute, or when I smell a bit of summer coming back, or when I’m running the same old route around Trinity University but in reverse. It’s as if I experience things for a split second through my July/August/September self, and have to stare for a moment at how different they look through my eyes now. Suddenly this glacial change looks sudden.
Tonight, due to another one of my somewhat manic episodes, I ran around Trinity at midnight. There’s an intersection we used to come to at the top of a long hill on our runs at Induction; I remember pausing there once to breathe with my new corps member friends I was halfway trying to figure out and halfway trying to impress. Then I realized it was the same intersection I paused at on Thursday night rides during the winter—40, 50 bicyclists, all shapes and sizes, all spandex and flashing lights, waiting at the top of this hill for the back of the group to catch up. Then I realized it was the same intersection I was stuck at for what felt like a 15-minute red light, in my 15-passenger van picking up some band kids for a robotics competition this spring.
My imagination let me think for a moment about what it might be like if all of these selves were to materialize at this place at the same time. Who would be the most surprised? Who would be asking and who would give answers? Would bike-riding me be ashamed or upset by running-at-midnight me?
It’s not that I measure my success by the way I think past self would view it—but in a way, I guess it is, right? Isn’t that what having a goal means? Don’t we strive to keep a consistent vision from beginning to end, and shouldn’t I wonder whether that vision has morphed and qualified itself over time?
Something to think about. Maybe something to think about when it’s not 2am on a week night!