Sunday, January 1, 2012

Then and now. (当時と現在。)

I thought this would be a particularly apt topic for a New Year's Eve post. (Well, Eve still where I am, anyway. You'll have to bear with me on that one.)

Sometimes I, unbeknownst to the common observer, have mild periods of prolonged philosophical pondering whilst engaging in the everyday humdrum of cleanliness upkeep. (The lengths I go to for alliteration.) Today I found myself thinking of a common problem I've noticed cropping up in my life more and more recently, sometimes with alarming frequency.

It seems to me that I am in a constant state of flux between the utterly uneducated, unevolved, and really simply naive "then" and the supremely sophisticated, adult, remarkably mature "now." Sometimes the "then" will be in the (somewhat) distant past, and sometimes it will be disturbingly nearby... say, in the past year or so. The period of transition is either instantaneous and undetectable or, conversely, so gradual and unassuming that by the time I reach the tipping point, the build-up has been such that I am thoroughly acclimated to my "now"ness once I am able to define myself within its parameters.

My pondering, therefore, leads me to wonder whether this state of flux will eventually lead to a permanent state of "now" where I am thoroughly and completely "grown-up" and developed, or whether I will continue progressing through these stages, each of varying length, until my dotage, constantly looking back and lamenting how very foolish I was in only the past decade.

If, of course, I will reach a "now" at some point that will last me until the end, the question becomes "when" is "now"? It hardly seems fair if that "now" is much beyond, say, the 3/4 mark of my life, as it seems that I won't have much time to spend basking in my understanding and true appreciation of the world. Yet, if the "now" comes to early, say before the half-way point, how can I truly say that I am at my peak? Would such a "now" be worth striving for, if it would only lead to stagnation and developmental decay?

However, if my life (and, extending this bit of rationale, that of everyone else) is meant to be and indeed forced into being in a constant state of flux, how can we truly say that we are the same person from month to month, year to year? For example, I would, if possible, completely disassociate myself from the me at, say, 19, for no other reason than sheer embarrassment at my emotional immaturity, undeveloped thought processes and the resulting actions taken. I would not trust an individual who knew me only at that time period to, say, give a character reference. Even so, being who I was at 19 is somehow integral to who I am now--without experiencing that period of blatant "stupidity," I would not have developed into the person who sits here writing somewhat pointless and yet hopefully thought-provoking blog posts close on the midnight hour.

And when it comes right down to it, there's really nothing that I, as a person, can do about the situation either way, aside from talking to you lot about it. Nevertheless, these are the places that my mind wanders. Just something I think about, of an evening, as it were.

I'm no Descartes over here, people.

Regardless, a Happy New Year and a 良い年を to all my lovely readers. My resolution, as it has been for a few years now, is to not be so easily embarrassed, and to maintain a level of self-confidence such that the passing thoughts of strangers observing my actions no longer preoccupy me.

This is Edo, signing off whilst welcoming everyone into the year of the dragon.

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