Whenever I have the chance to step away from my daily responsibilities and social interaction, I find myself thinking about my life and how it has changed so much. I think about all the things I’ve seen and experienced, all of the things I enjoyed and hated, all of the people I’ve met and loved. When I compare all of these facets of my past life to my current one, I’m astounded by the amount of change I’ve undergone along each and every life I’ve lived.
We only live one life. But the way I see it, life has many lives within itself. Similar to the way there are infinite numbers that exist within a bounded set or string of pearls that make up one necklace, there is an extensive number of days, months, and years we are given to be different each and every moment. Today, I’m a 19-year-old college student listening to Chet Faker and Kygo in my duplex right across the California coast. I have friends from all over the state who introduce me to different perspectives on life and let me live vicariously through their experiences all while making new ones together. And just a few years ago I was a 16-year-old catholic high school student who suppressed his angst and saturnine mentality by listening to indie bands like Manchester orchestra and two-door cinema club in his green bedroom. And before that, I was a middle school want-to-be bad boy who idolized Akon, rocked air force 1s and retro 4’s, and got kicked out of stores and movie theaters. I’m a dynamic character with unique nuances, polar opposite friend groups, a variety of past and present interests that don’t seem to connect. It’s hard to believe that through all the changes and shifts from one life to another, I‘m inherently the same spirit with a physically, mentally and emotionally changing mind and body. At least my hairstyle has generally been consistent.
Sometimes I wonder if a person can remain the same throughout their life. Can someone really be friends with the same people, enamored by the same hobbies and bring their instagram aesthetic to the grave with them?
I think the best part about life is that we have the opportunity to be who we want to be, and change our minds when we want to. We’re not limited to staying in one place and we’re definitely not limited to associating with the same people. The ability and opportunity to change, to be open to something completely new and out of your comfort zone is the catalyst that will get you from one life to the next. Even though we don’t get to physically live a new life, we are offered this limited time to go through stages of experimentation that become a life of their own.
Next year, I might be an international student studying in London, developing a new habit of drinking English breakfast as I swipe my oyster card instead of balancing my Folgers’s iced coffee on the bike path. And maybe the year after that I’ll drop everything and move to Latin America and join the Peace Corps. And in 50 years, maybe I quit my lucrative career to be a sailor somewhere on the east coast. No one would ever know I was once an inner-city native, private-catholic nerd and a California beach bro. I’m not sure where or who I’m going to be, but knowing that I have a million opportunities to do it over and over again makes life worth living.