Thoughts Late in the Day

The smiling faces of friends and acquaintances can hide haunting secrets, painful memories, and dark experiences that will never see the light of day. We’re like icebergs, revealing only a fraction of our selves and keeping the bulk of what we think and who we are hidden beneath a thick wall of privacy. We don’t even know that we’re hiding our true selves; we only know that the public face isn’t really who we are. And when we think about what we’re hiding from the world, we realize we’re hiding just as much from ourselves. Who are we, in fact? Are we simply responses to the stimuli around us, or do we exist separate from our environment? Is the happy-go-lucky guy in the mirror just a manufactured image, cultivated by the people with whom he interacts? Is he real, at his core, or did he come into being as an expression of the people with whom he’s spent time and the places where he’s lived? Some days, I feel like I don’t know who I am. Is there a real me buried beneath the layer upon layer of trained responses? Had I lived without the input of my environment, would I be a different person, a different being? I think I would. I think I would be more introspective (if that’s possible), less concerned with what others think of me, and more capable of focused attention. The older I get in this body, the less I’m able to stay focused. My mind spins like a top on a jagged, broken tabletop. Enough of this.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Thoughts Late in the Day

  1. Indeed, Warren. Life is a mystery, but its degree of sweetness waxes and wanes with the moon.

  2. warrens1or2 says:

    I used to laugh at people who said they were trying to discover who they really are. Then I discovered I didn’t know who I am. I’m okay with that. I now think I was never meant to know who I was yesterday or who I’ll be tomorrow. Ah, sweet mystery of life.

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