“All of us are walking around with an illusion, an illusion that our personal history has just come to an end. We have just recently become the people we were always meant to be and will be for the rest of our lives.” Dan Gilbert has an uncanny knack for saying something profound that feels deeply obvious in retrospect.
I mean. Think about it. How many phases have you been through in life? There are the obvious rites of passage, from childhood to adulthood, but how about those many, many nuanced moments in between? That time you couldn’t read enough Holocaust-related non-fiction, say, or that super awkward period when you insisted on attending really dreadful dance parties, even though you don’t really like dancing that much? How about the vegetarian phase or the Blue Hair era?
What’s interesting is the weight and earnestness that accompanies each of these life moments — even as a new phase is already inexorably dawning on the horizon. What’s to come is as different again as all those personalities that went before, yet for some reason we seem to overlook the fact that our mutable selves are still mutating.
“For most of us, the present is a magic time, a watershed moment at which we finally become ourselves,” Gilbert concludes. “Human beings are works in progress who mistakenly think they’re finished.” So what can or should we do about this? Nothing, silly. Instead, let’s focus on enjoying the journey, and be glad that we’ll have more ridiculous former selves to laugh at before too long.