Different Experiences – Same Person?


I,as many others, have often stated that I wish I could go back in time with all the knowledge I have now. Oh, how I would avoid the mistakes and take full advantage of the positives. I almost never wish that anymore, however, since it is simply a futile exercise. [Life does not come with a rewind button.] More specifically, the reason I no longer indulge in the fantasy of time travel is because I like who I am [for the most part] and I am who I am because I am a product of all my previous experiences – good and bad, the horrific and the delightful.

But, I do wonder, could I be the same person I am but because of a few different experiences? In other words, am I who I am due to very specific experiences or could some of those experiences been different and I still end up being who I am? So, if I could go back in time and change some things, would I risk ending up being someone different [a little different or quite a bit]? For sure, it would depend on which things or events I would change.

For instance, who would I be if I had had seven or six children instead of four? What if they were all girls or all boys? What if I had chosen Harvard University or the University of Michigan instead of Wayne State University? No doubt, some experiences push one onto a different trajectory while others might make a minuscule difference. But is it possible to end up as the same person but with very different experiences? Not every experience alters us or reveals us. But those that do, must they be specific or singular?

For instance, could I be who I am today if I had not witnessed my mother’s murder, or lost her at all at age twelve? Would I still be the Carlespie I am today if I had not become a member of a cult-like religion from age fourteen to thirty-five? Who would I be if my heart had not been snatched from my chest and used a toilet tissue by someone I loved? Could I be all that I am without having experienced those and other tragedies?

By now it should be obvious that I wish I could have avoided the tragedies and pains and experienced only the joys [winning an academic scholarship to a private school and to college, fathering my children, being young and healthy at the same time, etcetera]. But, I suspect that maybe I am who I am specifically and only because of both the specific tragedies and specific joys. If not for those I suppose I would be a different person – maybe better, maybe worse – maybe the same, or not.

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Published in: on June 4, 2016 at 11:55 AM  Leave a Comment  
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