I was looking through some of my old work tonight, partially by way of reminiscing, partially by way of sharing. It’s like looking at another life, or even another person’s life. I have done so many things I can’t keep them all straight. How long has it been since I was sitting around writing 6809 assembly code and building bus extenders for 8-bit personal computers?
No doubt many (even most?) people at this age have done rather a lot of living. It’s a wonder we have any sort of unitary identity at all by this age. Maybe we don’t. I do only inasmuch as I can forget all of the multivariate threads of being that have characterized my life at one time or another and instead focus on (and maintain awarenss of) only what I am doing at the moment.
I can cope if I just think of myself as “aspiring social scientist.” I can’t cope if I begin to think of myself as all of the six million things I’ve done over the course of my life, much less all the places I’ve been and people I’ve known.
This people I’ve known thing in particular is too complicated for me sometimes. My parents’ lives are relatively simple. They know each other. They are surrounded by a nuclear family of their own making. Beyond that there’s a neighborhood and there the concentric circles fade into exteriority.
There is no analog to this in my life.