Every day, you are different.
The cells in your lungs are renewed every 2-3 weeks.
Your skin cells are renewed every 2-4 weeks.
The cells in your bones may be relatively old at 10 years, but the cells that make up the tiny villi in your intestines are a mere 2-3 days old.
It’s not only your physical body that is undergoing constant change. Your personality might be less stable over the years than you think. Research has found no correlation in personality traits at age 14 and 77. Which means you essentially become a new person, a new version of yourself, during this period of time. The researchers explain that personality traits tend to look stable over shorter intervals, but over longer stretches of time the relationship becomes weaker.
On the podcast Invisibila’s Personality Myth episode, reporters tried unsuccessfully to find personality traits that are stable over time. As the title suggests, our personalities are myths–ingrained patterns or habits that give the illusion of permanence, when they are, in fact, elusive and evolving. The presenters seemed saddened by this discovery, questioning how we can truly know and love someone without a core, stable “self” to be found.
I think they’re missing the point. We don’t love people because they never change. Change is not a thing that happens to us; we are change.
As parents, we don’t only love our children at certain ages or stages. We love them for the babies they once were, for the people they are right now, and for the adults they will someday become. Parents sometimes say they wish they could freeze time, keep their children little forever. Nobody means this, of course. A life cut short or suspended in childhood is a tragedy. And this growing and changing, it never ends.
We don’t fight the constant change of our bodies, because it tends to be outside of our awareness. While we’re not looking, our bodies have the audacity to change, right down to to our bones and blood. The very stuff that makes you you is changing right at this moment. Imagine if we tried to fight it, the way we fight other changes. Each time we lost a taste bud cell (every 10 days), we would be shrieking, Oh noooooo! But you were my favorite!
And yet many of us tend to dig in our heels and resist all the changes we can see. We struggle and flail, trying to hold on to old friends, places, beliefs and thoughts, when maybe we don’t even need them anymore. When, maybe, the constant renewal and refreshing of our minds and hearts is just as necessary and inevitable as that of our cells.