From where I sit, little has changed. This could be due to the way that I have arranged my life. I’ve made it so that I could have all the things that matter to me be in front of me daily, and I’ve removed almost everything else. I have my family, my books, and writing materials. There doesn’t need to be an endless exploration of new restaurants, new live music venues, new bands, new movies, new beers, new wines, new natural pharmacopoeia, new places, new gadgets, etc. I maintain the same boring wardrobe, year after year, swapping out a similar item for one that has finally worn itself out. My weight stays the same. I don’t get caught up in new hobbies or find new social issues to get me worked up enough to volunteer and write letters. In all that has shifted and changed about me since college, I am more or less back to being the same person I was in college when left to my own devices. Slowly, but surely, I would stop the excessive drinking. The need to discover new music would go away. The need to be out exploring would slip aside. I would be left with my thoughts and my books and my computer with a blank page inside a word processing application open, and I would write whatever needed to be written, then go to bed.
Am I completely happy that I haven’t achieved phenomenal personal growth, and have become some stellar example of humanity? I don’t know, probably not. There is something to be said for forcing yourself to be pushed greatly outside of your comfort zones to the point where you are being a distinctly different sort of person. There is also much to be said against such a thing, when it is done for the sake of instant gratification of the immediate attention of others. I would change one thing about my daily routine utterly and completely if I were to become completely convinced that doing so would make the world a better place for someone else. If I knew that writing a letter to the President every day would eventually create some kind of cosmic flow of information running counter to what appears to be most of his way of thinking, and it would eventually disrupt his thinking to the point where he became a more compassionate, empathetic individual, I might do it. But I don’t know that writing a letter every day would do much of anything at all. I don’t even have enough evidence in my soul that would allow me to do such a thing on faith.
Surely, I would benefit from at least praying more every single day at a set time in a set way. Every morning, when I wake up, prayer of a certain kind. Each day at noon, evening and prior to bed. Prayer has never been my discipline, though, but writing has. If I could be so bold, I would suggest that at least some of my writing is more or less crossing over into the world of prayer at times. I feel like I am eventually communicating with a resource that is bigger than my own brain, once I start typing and thinking and flowing long enough.
If anything at all has changed about me, it’s a tendency to be much more circumspect when it comes to making predictions about the future. All bets are off for my future, both in whatever I will go on to become after this midlife round of school, and in attempting to assess what will happen with the world in general–be it because of this unpredictable President, or due to an increasingly fragmented society that seems more and more inclined to insulate itself in a tribalistic fashion. If you don’t think exactly like I do, I don’t want to know you–I’m going to go off and start my own political party, found my own church, and I will leave those groups as well if they start to shift in ways of thought that I don’t 100% agree with. Forget about our hyper-politicized world of people being rabidly polarized as liberal or conservative–I think that we are witnessing sheer fragmentation that will inevitably either result in millennia of chaos or it will be all completely patched up and become controlled by the Antichrist–whoever comes along to become perceived as the One who can save us all from certain destruction.