My blog has been broken for more than a year, and as part of fixing it I decided to migrate to WordPress. Unfortunately, that required me to manually look at every single post I’ve written. It’s a lot – thousands of posts dating back to 1995.
It’s interesting reading them again at the age of 45. The early ones are highly embarrassing to read now, a combination of youthful ignorance and an overwrought sense of the importance of my own thoughts. I think most of my friends who wrote back then share the same embarrassment, and for that reason most of them have taken their early thoughts off the Internet. I don’t think I have to worry, because in addition to being embarrassing, those posts are also profoundly boring. So many things a 19-year-old thinks is important or interesting really aren’t. I’d ask people not to read those early posts, but I don’t think I need to worry as I doubt anyone would be able to get through any – they’re that tedious.
To me the embarrassment is a good sign – if you’re not embarrassed by what you wrote in your late teens / early 20s than you haven’t grown as a person at all. And as I scanned through the years it’s interesting to me to see how much I’ve changed – so many things that dominated my thought life back then I think about not at all anymore. It’s especially interesting seeing how much the thought of future parenting dominated my thought life, what I’d do with my kids. In reality, so much of what I thought about was thrown out the window and so much of parenting is flying by the seat of your pants. It’s just what happens when abstract theory meets the reality of actual children with actual specific personalities.
At the same time, it’s also interesting to me how so many of the same thoughts and struggles I had then I still have now. In many (most?) ways, I feel like exactly the same person I was at 19, and it’s crazy how time hasn’t changed that. I used to quote song lyrics all the time in my blog and I was reminded of one of my favorite songs that I quoted, Caedmon’s Call’s Thankful:
I ran across an old box of letters
While I was baggin up some clothes for Goodwill
You know I had to laugh that the same old struggles
That plagued me then are plaguing me still
That’s exactly how I felt. One early struggle I write about constantly is how I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. You know what? I still don’t. I was telling a friend how I’m trying to figure out what to do next and he laughed out loud, saying that’s all I’ve talked about the past few years, figuring out what to do next. And yeah, I guess I’m still haven’t figured that out.