Thursday, January 27, 2005

Growth and change

I decided to leave politics aside for a minute and talk about change and growth.

Over the last few years I have looked at the changes in who I am, and who I was at various stages of my life, trying to find a sense of what sparked the changes, and whether I lost a part of myself that was essential.

In a sense this is a part of that ongoing process of self discovery we all face. It is the awkward balance of security in the accepted and fear of the unknown. It is the dichotomy of being what we are versus what we want to be. It is the fear of change battling the stagnancy of remaining static.

At one time I felt my life was spinning out of control. I didn't know where or who I was.

With some help I discovered that I never lost myself, I just changed. I never lost control at all, I was merely second guessing my choices.

Regarding the changes, realistically the changes in me are hardly a surprise. So much has happened in my life that some change was inevitable. Military service, marriage, divorce, remarriage, kids, career changes.....All these at the very least demand some changes. As my environment changed, I had to change with it.

And certainly some changes were necessary, for I candidly admit that I was in need of improvement. But had I lost anything valuable? Had I lost anything true to myself?

I decided I had not "lost" anything at all. I may have shifted some priorities, but the person in my mirror this morning is still the same guy from 1979. I never stopped being me. I just stopped *seeing* me.

As for choices, my counselor a few years ago helped me understand that aspects of change and acceptance. I can look back all I want, but regretting anything I did so long ago is pointless. Not going to college may have led me to a different road, but that led me to my wife and children. Staying in the military might have given me a retirement, but I would not have the career I have now as a result. Each change, each decision moved me along my path to now, and each was as necessary as the one before it.

Looking back is good, if you look to understand, and to learn. But regrets are futile.

Had I made mistakes? Certainly, and some of those I paid for. But that brought experience, and maturity to me in many ways.

In a sense, all those decisions, changes and mistakes brought me where I am today, and in that regard, I would not change a thing. I hold no regret for anything that bought me to today.

And keeping all that in mind, I look at myself today and I can see and feel the old me that I had once thought gone. All that is here, a part of the whole that is me.

So yes, in that sense, I did find myself again.

It was easy, I never left.