Monday November 2, 2020

If there was one application that was made for friends and family, it has to be Facebook. And if there was one group of people that are massively invested in keeping you locked in the past versions of ‘you’, that group is your friends and family.

My life is 90% happy at the moment… except for family. I think my ‘old’ friends put it well, “You haven’t changed much!” I am certain this is meant to be a complement, but it’s a curse – and it is inaccurate. As for family, it’s usually, “You haven’t changed!” period.

Yes, I have.

In fact, the ‘Me’ they knew (and still know in the prison of perception they hold me in) passed on a long, long time ago. There is a popular myth that our body renews itself every seven years. Whilst it is true that cells have varying lifespans (e.g. cells in the colon last for about 4 days whereas white blood cells last for about a year), neurons last forever – or at least until they die. Perhaps, then, there is some truth in the idea that ‘we’ haven’t changed. If the neurons in the brain are the site of identity, there are echoes from the past with us for as long as those neurons live.

The fact is, however, that those neurons are employed in new ways over the days of our lives. They may be the same components but the programmes they run have the capacity to be vastly improved every day and the way they connect (and are thus used) is changed dramatically. Even your processing power gets upgraded if you use your brain effectively.

Think about education. Is the brain I used for ‘O’ Levels the same brain I used for ‘A’ Levels and the same brain I went on to use for a Degree. No, no, and no!

Every time you use a new pattern of thinking, ‘You’ change. You are not the same. You are transformed by the renewing of your mind. New thoughts, new you.

If my old school friends were to spend time with me now, they’d find me more tolerant, more gracious, way more compassionate, more giving, and far less self-obsessed. I know this to be true. But they come with a bias towards the way we were.

At least Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in the song, “The Way We Were,” have the grace to realise that they share memories, just memories. Memories are fragments and often figments of reality, and neither the whole truth nor the present truth.

Moodscope has the opportunity to become Gracebook for us members who have travelled months or years together. Who can forget the journey (and memories) we have shared with The Gardener? How could we forget the frustrations and triumphs we’ve shared with Molly? And Leah’s pains and renewed pleasures? Nevertheless, The Gardener, Molly, and Leah are not the same Gardener, Molly, and Leah we knew when we first met them.

Let’s have the grace to notice the changes, and not share in the folly of friends and family that erroneously assert, “You haven’t changed a bit!” Rather, let us encourage one another in our move forward towards the newer versions of ourselves.

A Moodscope member.

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