Brenda’s Blog – May 5, 2020
“You haven’t changed one bit. You look just like you did years ago!”
It had been 16 years since I was together with this friend. At first blush these words cheered my aging heart (and ego), even though I knew she was wrong.
As the glow faded, the thought occurred to me, “Brenda, if I think about that seriously, it is an indictment. Have you changed since college? Do you have new interests, new skills, deeper knowledge, more wisdom?”
Sadly, I admitted I improved on skills already developed by age 20, deepened my interest in subjects already introduced in early life, and practiced habits created in my 30s. But am I a different woman, or simply a more experienced model of my younger self?
Then, I switched the direction. “Perhaps you set your life course early, establishing your core values at a young age.” I think there is truth in that. My Breakfast With Fred work requires me to read thousands of words written by my Dad throughout his life. One of my ah-ha’s has been the way his foundational thinking matured, but did not change over decades. At 30 he held beliefs expressed in his 80s.
So, then what is the conclusion? Being a more solid Brenda founded on a firm faith is a good thing. Failing to add new skills, new interests, and experiences is not. Allowing fear to keep me from joining in on uncomfortable activities (like learning new games, singing solos, zip-lining, snorkeling, or hiking mountains) leave me unchanged.
Growing requires pushing beyond known boundaries. Perhaps I can risk a bit and the next time I see her she will tell me “You look like you are having great fun in your old age!”