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May 5, 2013

In Which I Consider My Navel



When you’re busy living the big changes in your life, it’s hard to see them for what they are, until one day you wake up and realize that what you thought were small changes were not small at all, and that without noticing you’ve become a new person.

I know it’s bad form, but that’s a quote from me.  I wrote it by way of introducing a series of posts about Summer 2012 (you can find them here, here, here, and here), and it applies equally today.  Every year, at about this time – and especially the last three years, where I’ve had a space for formal self-reflection in the form of Clark Diaries – I look back and am thrilled to see just how much I’ve changed from the year before.  I think, over and over, that this must be the most exciting age to be, and how lucky I am to be it!  As far as I know, I’m always right, because I have no way of proving myself wrong.

Except to grow older.  And because the arrow is still pointing resolutely forward, grow older I will.  This has been an extraordinary year, and I think I’m a better person than I was at the beginning of it.  I’m certainly humbler.  I’m certainly more self-possessed.  I’m certainly more empathetic.  I’m a better writer and a better thinker than I was three hundred and sixty five days ago.  But I’m not done yet.  I should be more empathetic, more humble, and more self-possessed.  I should come across other goals and rise to meet them, too.  But how in the world should I do that?

I think a lot about the difference between the words ‘being’ and ‘becoming’.  I think – I think – in practical terms, there’s not much of a difference.  By being you are also becoming, and you can’t be without becoming at the same time.  So my goal for myself this next year is to be better, not as part of a process of becoming (because I can’t be in any time other than the present), but as part of a present that should be better than its predecessor.

You’re probably sick of the words ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ by now (and if you aren’t, you should be).  Most of you have probably already tabbed away, and I’m losing the rest of you with every word I type, so I’ll end here.  The bottom line is, be the best person you can be.  The becoming will follow.  There’ll be another post up next week about my plans for the summer, and after that, it’s au revoir until August!  Here ends the navel-gazing.

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