Who Am I?

Commenting on the current hearings in Congress is too political and too painful.

But, the bigger question of who I am really is, of course, a long time philosophical epistemology beyond me and the moment.

What is our personal notion of reality or viewpoint and experience, and how is our memory structured?

The years since my first conscious memory and the intervening chapters of my life are distinct, only to me.  I can recall sitting on a tree limb in my first house when I was five years old…or is it because my parents have a picture of that occasion?  I also recall a stained glass, circular and with no thematic purpose, above the front entrance to our home.  Never made sense to me but remained there for about 40 years subsequent to our move as I have verified many times with a drive-by.

Adolescence is conjured visions of angst, school success, ugly duckling to swan-like physical changes, and painful relationships of both emotional and bumbling sexual interactions.  College was wild and experimental, filled with firsts, lasts, and geez I wish I wouldn’t have done that moments.

I can fill in the types of experiences and the moments of clarity of what I had done and where I wanted to be going.  Did these shape my personality or did I shape these events to my personality?

Continuously I remain baffled by feedback from others.  I didn’t see the good, bad, or ugly in myself.  I don’t remember being “so cute” in high school (Fiftieth High School Reunion feedback).  Party behavior feedback seems about someone else.  Leadership excellence and work achievements came and seemed temporary, yet lasted 45 years.

Now, as I am “in the mature phase” of my life, I cannot so much remember as reflect.  I am shocked by the specifics of memory but often lack the context and implications for who I became.  I now have interactions with my children that are stunning.  They attribute behaviors to me and events in their childhoods that seem preposterous, yet they are firm in their memories.  Work friends reminisce freely when we get together and share recollections of social, not work, activities.  I can recall mutual workplace events, but am vague on the social synergy, yet we were there together for 15 years, day in and day out.

All this said, I have been asking myself, what is the nature of reality?  Is it our personal recollection or a composite of our memories and how others knew us?

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