“That’s who I am you can like it or lump it!”

“I speak my mind, if you don’t like it, that’s your problem.”

“That’s just who I am, if you can’t handle it move on.”

These kinds of comments abound through both the virtual and real worlds. Like there is culture of pride developing around “the wonderfulness of me now.” Any challenge to that, any suggestion that maybe some self reflection is due is met with cries of denial. Unfollowed, unfriended, unliked, you can be cut from someone’s life easily. “I DON’T WANT TO BE CHALLENGED ON MY WONDERFULNESS AND MY UNIQUENESS AND THE SPECIALNESS OF ME NOW,” and if it takes getting rid of you, I will.

I’m 65, and me now, isn’t anywhere near the ‘me’ I want to be. I’m closer, way closer, than when I was in my 20’s (I don’t like ‘me then’ very much, but he’s the parent of ‘me now’ so I cope). I figure the challenge of life is constant, and sometimes painful, growth. I have been helped in this growth by many of my blog readers, many of my Facebook comments, by those who private message me to express their disagreement. I’ve kept a record, I’ve changed, over the many years of my blog, the text of a post over 40 times because of comments, people who shone a light on something I didn’t know, or something that I’d written that was hurtful. As recently as yesterday I took down a Facebook video that I put up without researching the story behind the video, I was told, gently, to check it out. I took it down.

I’m not yet the man I want to be.

I am not too old for change, too special for change, too always right for change.

My life has me walking regularly through one F.O.G. after another (Fucking Opportunity for Growth) and though I resent the FOG every now and then, I’m usually glad that I got through it, glad for what I learned and glad to have been made different, more gently, more understanding, more compassionate, less judgmental, less harsh, less of me then.

I worry when people celebrate themselves to the exclusion of the idea of continued growth. When me now stops existing and you are stuck at me then for year after year. Arriving too early at ‘done’ means a kind of death of the drive to learn and grow and change. What next? The coffin’s not lacquered yet.