I walked into my local town hall in a press capacity for the first time in ten years today.
Ten years ago — the year I turned 40 — I was a reporter for our local newspaper and spent many afternoon and evening hours in that very building covering government matters and town meetings. I started out nervous that year and grew into the job with the help of seasoned reporters and editors who gave their patience, their guidance, and sometimes their frustration to me.
I thought fondly of our younger selves this morning as I parked my car and walked through the parking lot toward the double glass doors. It’s not often that we get to retrace our own steps and remember how much has happened in our lives and in ourselves since we last walked the same path. And here’s what I was thinking — it’s not really the same path as it was ten years ago. It looks the same, but it’s been trod by many people, with many hopes and dreams and fears. And it’s not the same walk, because I’m not the same person. We’re never the same people we were when we last crossed even the most familiar threshold. Every day, every year, experience changes us: some things make us stronger, others weaker; some richer, others poorer. But everything pours into the same place — the richness that make up the fabric of our lives and of our selves.
Are we always the same, or are we never the same? I say both. This morning and yesterday morning, last year and this year, a decade ago, and myself at 50: I had the same name, the same heart, the same soul. But they’ve been repaved, worn down, built up, broken, cared for, made fun of, and loved.
That’s an awful lot to think about when you’re on your way to take a photograph of school crossing guards being sworn in. But that’s the kind of thing I think about — so that you guys can peek in here from time to time and think to yourselves either — “Man, she’s nuts,” or “Thank god somebody else can articulate how I feel living in the gray area I call my own life.”
Probably, hopefully, you think and you feel both ways. As I do.