Present wisdom's view of the past

If you're a fallible human like me, you've made some mistakes in your past that you regret. Whether it's how you treated someone you love, how you handled a stressful situation, or the general way with which you once conducted yourself day-to-day, we all have things in our past we'd have done differently.

And if you're committed to your personal growth, you'll likely find that these feelings of regret seemingly come from nowhere, about things you thought you'd long since reconciled with yourself. This is because, if you're getting wiser, you're viewing your past mistakes through a new and improved lens. And this growth can be painful.

I can say with confidence that I'm a different person from who I was a year, two years, five years, ten years ago. Every year I learn more about myself and how to live more in accordance with my values. So it's no wonder that when I look back, there are things that I did and said in the past that my present self sees as foreign, and in some cases, revolting.

And if you're a creative, introspective person with a tendency to journal and make art like me, this becomes compounded by the fact you've created a living record of your past selves. Reading old journals and revisiting old creative works can be illuminating, but it can also reveal the words of a person who no longer occupies your body. And this can be disorienting.

In an act of memoriam, I recently purged a few of my old journals because I realized the person who wrote the words in them was dead. I found myself labeling this past version of myself: "self-absorbed", "delusional", "lost". The written words were so alien to me, reading them years later, having resolved many of the issues I'd dealt with back then.

Will I read this post and feel the same way about it in a few years? Only time and wisdom will tell.