Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The three faces of Me

If we want to, we can break our lives down into sections or stages, and that can often be a good way to understand who we are and what we’ve been through and learned. At the moment, I have three distinct stages in my life, and they’re at the heart of all my personal stories.

The first stage, which I’ll call “Original Me”, was before I met Nigel, and it has everything that made me ME: My childhood, my schooling, my family and friends, and so on. The second stage, “Next Me”, was with Nigel, and now the third, “Current Me” is the Me after Nigel. It’s way too soon to even guess if there will be another distinct Me in the future, but for now, three of Me is quite enough.

Original Me is the backstory for everything that’s followed—my entire life. When I want to understand what I think or feel about something or someone, or why I react the way I do, chances are good the reasons began there. Next Me was the bulk of my adult life, from 36 to 60, and they’re the years when I changed, grew, and improved from what Original Me was. And now Current Me will be a blend of both, with even more changes. This latest version may turn out to be Transitional Me, or it may turn out to be the Forever Me that’ll be Me for the rest of my life, but either way it’s the culmination of everything so far.

It may sound surprising, given what I’m still going through, but this awareness of the many faces of Me is a very good thing. I’ve always loved change—I think it’s exciting. Nigel was much the same, and he and I looked at our life together as an adventure, one which, we both thought, had many more chapters to come.

From its very beginning, our life together was always about moving toward something, never away from it. When our life together began, I didn’t move from the USA, I moved toward a life with Nigel. We moved toward a new adventure in Paeroa, then our adventures brought us back to Auckland, then on to the southern edge of the Manukau Harbour. All of those changes were about moving toward something.

Similarly, when our shared adventure ended, my move to Hamilton was about me moving toward whatever my new life, and new adventures, will be. In fact, it still is.

Life is always in motion, until it isn’t, but moving toward new adventures isn’t the same thing as “moving on”, which is a very loaded phrase. I’m moving forward, but I have no intention of moving on.

To me, moving on implies forgetting or repressing whatever came before, and there’s simply no way I’d be willing to do that. In time, I’ll learn to adapt to my new reality and my solo life, but I won’t abandon the life I had, nor could I: It would mean leaving Me behind.

We’re all the sum of everything we’ve experienced in our lives, and my life with Nigel is still the most influential part: I had 24+ years with him, and that’s longer than I had with my parents, who died when I was 20-21 (and I was a child much of the time I spent with them). Because all my life with Nigel was all in adulthood, he was, and still is, the single biggest influence on my life. So, there’s still a lot that Next Me can do to help Current Me. In fact, I can’t fully become Current Me without Next Me. Or Original Me, for that matter.

While I (of course) have no way of knowing what my future holds, I do know this: Whatever it is, it’ll be built on all the versions of Me that have existed so far, and Nigel was the most important part of that evolution.

And that’s why I’m moving forward, not moving on. I don’t want to leave any of Me behind.


Roger Owen Green said...

I'm wondering how many Rogers there have been.

Arthur Schenck said...

Could be more than you might think.