I was recently reunited with my mother’s best friend from when I was a child. She told me many stories about my childhood. Her description of me as a child sounded remarkably like the adult I am today. I was (and still am) a social animal, artistic, introspective, mildly critical, but happy and hopeful.


The encounter made me wonder about my own evolution. In 42 years, have I evolved as a person? (I’d like to think so.) So what’s different? How exactly have I evolved? How do any of us evolve?


Evolution, by its very nature, happens slowly. For me, it’s not in the sudden absence of a pinky toe, the spontaneous growth of gills or the rather handy development of opposable thumbs. My evolution resides in finely tuned responses to my environment. (Ha!)

The sudden absence of pride:
“Mom, how come you don’t know how to spell idiot?”
“Why can’t you tell me where my shoes are?”
“Can’t you just do it for me?”
Time to look dumb and let my kids figure it out for themselves.
Or, my spontaneous growth of patience:
“Mom, George poured chocolate milk all over his bed.”
And with each BIG… deep… breath, I find myself growing a little more patience.


Sure, there are times when I’m disappointed that I haven’t evolved toward more ambitious ends. After all, I’ve got wealthy friends, spiritually connected friends, highly educated friends, sarcastically clever friends, sickly talented friends, enviously buff friends — and some of these are all in the same person. So what about me?
Have I accomplished enough for my years on this earth?
Am I fulfilling my promise?
Do I have a vision for my life?


The short answer is, sort of.


But wait! In an amazing twist of events, I turn to my rather handy development of critical thinking: I remember that evolution is a response to external forces, not internal conflict. All THOSE big questions are more a matter of aspiration, not evolution. Ahhh… Semantics. Logic’s evolutionary loophole. (Which happily enables me to defer these questions for another day.)

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