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I Am Who I Am…. For Now!

During a lecture in my freshman year of college, my history professor commented that at our young, fragile age we should be liberals and drive change! He followed that statement by advising that as we grow older, we should become conservatives and more cautious. My professor was referring to being liberal in the sense of being open to change and new experiences, being unpredictable as opposed to being more prudent, which he suggested we do as we got older. It is a philosophy that financial planners often suggest; be riskier when you are young and safer as you get older.

Thinking back to that lecture, I wondered if what my professor said was even possible? Can we change, especially later in life, or are we destined to remain the same? Given today’s environment, I would hope we can change.

So, here is the bad news first: For many years it was thought that change could not happen. You are who you are, which means who you are at 20 is who you are at 90…isn’t that frightening.

A recent study led by psychology professor Rodica Damian, from the University of Houston, is a little more hopeful. The study suggests a little of both; that some traits stay the same while others do change, but it is dependent on the person. The even better news is that the study shows when a personality does change, it is usually for the positive! The change that occurs within people is a combination of genetics and the environment, something I believe all of us suspected.

Can you imagine being the exact same person you were at 20 years old when you are 90 years old? Even being the same person at 20 as you are at 30, or even the same person you were a few weeks ago? Of course for some, this is the case; however looking back at who I was at 20, going through various experiences (good and bad), and growing from the outcomes are what brought me to the person I am today.

This study gives me hope. Maybe Popeye was not entirely accurate when he said, “I yam what I yam an’ that’s all I yam”.  He should have added “for now” ?

“I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Have a great weekend.