i recently heard about an interview with the abstract artist brian o’dougherty, who was fascinated by the evolution of identity. he says that he once heard a biologist discuss the process by which the human body rejuvenates itself. the scientist claimed that our cells are constantly dying and being replaced by new cells, or the molecules in those cells are being replaced by new molecules, such that after seven years, no part of our body is composed of the same material as it was seven years previously. o’dougherty asserts that our identities are similarly metamorphic, that as the years pass our selves become constructed of entirely new materials. (thanks for the summary, rachel odell!)
isn’t that fascinating? i’ve been thinking about the seven years behind me and the seven years ahead of me – how i’ve changed and how i want to change. life is such an incredible ride. i’ve been blessed with amazing experiences that i hope have molded my identity. sometimes i have to look back to remember the ways i’ve been transformed and appreciate them and hope for more positive changes in the future.
i realized tonight that i could look back not quite seven, but at least five, years into the past by reading old journals on my bookshelf. i pulled them out and read entries from years ago, as close to the day as possible.
i love looking back over a long span for a better perspective, without the blinders of day-to-day life.
6 september 2008
“today was long. i love that the mission is hard. i really do. i feel so real, so deep, so ironically good. this morning we went to the high street and it was brutal. we really got beat up. i had to hold onto my heart and offer silent prayers. we spent a lot of time traveling, getting lost, walking around, getting flogged, and popping by less-actives that weren’t home. it was a grand frustrating adventure topped off by a crazy dinner appointment (four crazy kids) and some ‘late-night’ knocking. what a day. what a life. this is my life!”
5 september 2009
”life is crazy! this may just be another ‘up’ false alarm that things are okay and happy and i can adore being alive again – but if so i’ll still enjoy it and let it fuel me for the uncertainty and hardship that is probably ahead. the last few days have been good. i have felt productive, empowered, excited and just okay, and that feels nice…i’m learning a lot from this crazy, crazy time of life – no doubt i am being prepared for things ahead. i’ve learned that i need to be confident and content…i’m on a flight to new york city and i am so excited.”
5 september 2010
”i am in golden gate park and it is a perfect sunday morning…i had a phone interview the other day with an awesome non-profit, and yesterday i was invited to a second interview with the place i went to a group interview at last week. i am fasting that the right job will come and that i will be guided in the search and decisions…i’ve spent time this week reading in the park, walking through various charming neighborhoods and learning more about the bus system…life is good – i am in the right place. lovesick at times, worried about the job search at others, but mostly i am independent and discovering myself and learning every day.”
21 september 2011
”it seems so crazy that i’ve been back in the city just a few weeks. it feels right to be here. and lately i just really love my life…when i first flew into san francisco, i felt excited and in love with the city, but i also felt a rush of worry stress and rejection. coming back to a place i adore but that holds some hard times for me was peculiar. the first few days were just weird. a bit of that familiar feeling of trying to be a new person in an old world. but then! i got back to work and i remembered why i love it here so much…i have an interview next week with innosight institute in mountain view. it is a cool opportunity…”
6 september 2012
”i think reading old journals is going to help me remember who i am and who i want to be. i’ve spent these months perhaps in a way trying to be the wrong or incomplete version of myself…i have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. i have a lot to be grateful for, including the grueling mortal experience of feeling enormously lost.”
life is so full of ups and downs. it’s such an incredible ride.