Are You Better Off or Worse Off?

March 1, 2015

Many people keep journals or write in diaries, but I was never one of them. Maybe because I didn’t think I had anything worthwhile to say or maybe because I didn’t want anyone to read my thoughts if my journal was lost, I preferred keeping my own counsel.

That said, there is much to recommend keeping journals and sometimes I’m sorry that I’m not one of those people who do it. The reason I sometimes regret not having done it is because it might have been instructive to see how much I have changed over the years and whether I was better off then than I am now, or if I’m better off now than I was then.

Without journaling, as it is often called, I do know that I have changed in many ways. I can do loosely viewed comparisons of myself from when I was young to how I am today. But, there are so many other things that might have been useful to see in print instead of relying on memory.

Every so often, I run across a term paper that I wrote in college, eons ago, and realize that, at seventeen, I was probably more mature than my classmates who were in their twenties. I also realize that some of my views were very idealistic and students in their twenties today, would laugh at my naïveté.

Sad to say, there is still that young idealistic schoolgirl inside of me but, age and experience, have given me the practical application that I didn’t have in my teens.

Our marital status may have changed; some may have changed their marital status many times. Our monetary status may have changed; some may have had many reversals over the years. Our political views may have changed, and that may be due more to the changing political climate and how we’re affected by whatever laws are enacted, but have we changed internally, where it really matters?

At some point, it’s safe to say that we have all been touched by sorrow or joy. Some people become bitter from their difficulties and some people rise above them, learn from them, and go on to have a more productive life.

Our memories often play tricks on us. Sometimes, we push the unpleasant events out of our minds so that we don’t have to deal with them and sometimes we exaggerate them so much that they prevent us from having a full life.

We all recognize that in many ways we have changed but, how much have we really changed, and are we better off or worse off now than we were before?

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