The New Me
I woke up one morning and I decided that I would change. I would cease to be the person I was and become a new person.
I resolved to be better, stronger, smarter, sweeter, more relaxed, more empathetic, more caring… I resolved to be more.
As the days passed, I worked at my virtues and vices. I made a list, Ben Franklin style, and marked when I succeeded and when I failed. I watched as my mistakes dwindled into nothingness and my victories grew so numerous that they buried my previous self.
I wrote a eulogy for the old me, a farewell that was anything but fond, and I celebrated the new me, riding the rush of change. I was so different, so wonderful, so new. I realized that all the work I put in was one more element of the old me that I didn’t need anymore.
So I stopped.
The new me didn’t need to change. He didn’t need to be more. He was everything the old me had wanted.
The new me tried to go about business as usual, but there was no usual for a me so new.
I woke up one morning and stumbled into the bathroom. I stared at the new me in the mirror. The new me stared back and said, “What are you looking at, chump?”
Suddenly I didn’t feel as good about the new me as I thought I should. I started spotting flaws in the new me: arrogance, ego, selfishness and apathy. I noticed the new me did many of the same things as the old me, the me I had left behind. Whenever I wasn’t paying attention, the new me would crack and I could see the old me inside, clawing his way out toward the surface.
And that was when I realized I wasn’t really a new me at all.
I was me. Just me.
“I’m a changed man,” I said to the new me.
“No,” replied the new me, “I’m a changed man.”
“But you’re just me,” I told the new me. He sneered back at me.
“I’m the me you want to be,” he said. But when I thought about it, I knew I really didn’t.
“No,” I told him, “there are things I wish I did better. And there are ways I can improve. But you, you’re not the me I want to be.”
“Sure I am,” the new me said. “Just look at the charts. See all the things I do better now? Would you rather be the old me instead?”
“No,” I replied. “The old me wanted to be better. The old me strived to improve. But the old me was willing to give up existing to become the new me, and you see how that worked out. You may be a little better than the old me, but you’ll never be better than you are.
“Me, I can be both. I can be better and I can strive to be better. There doesn’t have to be an old me or a new me or a point where I’m changed and different and better. There doesn’t have to be an end when the end is really the trying.”
I stared into the mirror and I wondered if this would be ok, if I could live without and old me and a new me. Every day, I would try my best to get better, to be better, to be more.
But not matter what, I would still be me.