I once read some quotes from wives who had been married for years or decades. All of the quotes were about how their husbands weren't the men they'd married, or how they'd been married to multiple husbands who were all the same man. The idea is that over time people do change, and you can live several different types of lives in one lifetime.
There are people I really dislike that I used to be close to, once
upon a time. Without meaning to or even realizing it, I often
think of the friends I once had and the people they are now as different
people. I could never find those friends again, because they no longer exist. Their bodies are still here, but occupied by other personalities--there's no use in searching there for those long-gone friends. There's nowhere to look for them.
Of course I don't mean this literally. But sometimes it does feel as if I'm thinking of past lives, no longer accessible, instead of memories from my own life that I know must still be shared by other people, even if I never talk to them.
And just now, as I'm studying in a coffee shop, I hear a song that reminds me of a man I dated years ago. I still know him, and we're on friendly terms, but the song reminded me of how I used to see him, a perspective I don't remember often. And I realized that I also think of the man I dated and the man I'm friends with now as two different people, even though they are really one and the same.
We had a good relationship, with many good memories. Both of us are now in happy relationships with other people, and it would no longer be appropriate to reminisce with each other, which is fine. But it makes it strange--if you are the only person who remembers something, it can feel as if the something never really did happen to begin with. It's as if that man I dated is gone, replaced by a pleasant but different friendship.
And it makes me wonder (again) about marriage. Everyone says you shouldn't marry someone based on the assumption that they will change, and I agree. You can't make people change and you can't predict that they will change in specific ways. However people do change--how many people are really the same now as they were 10 years ago? Sure, there are common patterns, personality traits that persist, of course. But there are changes too. How can you commit to someone when the personality you're committing to might not be there in a decade or two?