I’ve always considered myself quite self-aware, but a couple of different people forced me to re-examine that notion in the midst of this turmoil. As a result, I found myself totally rethinking the entire trajectory of certain aspects of my life. It’s really quite frightening to re-frame, say, an entire relationship, a career path, or any other key element of your identity. It was eye-opening.
As Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” But I think it’s important to realise that there are also many different ways to connect the dots in your life. Like people see different things in the clouds or in Rorschach inkblots, you can interpret different things from those dots. I’ve only lived one life, and like most (all?) of you I’ve crafted a narrative about it to suit, but I could so easily pull out different points to plot a very different story.
The truth is subjective, and humans are complicated. We talk about a ‘single source of truth’ when it comes to web analytics, but unfortunately there’s no such thing when it comes to life. There are several possible versions of any personal narrative, and I suppose we’ll usually choose the one that paints the best possible picture – as Annalise on How to Get Away With Murder put it, “say it and you’ll believe it”.
I don’t know that the story I tell myself is the truest one. But maybe accuracy isn’t the best measure for these things. What matters is that you can live with it.