It's funny how you can look at some people and see exactly what they must have looked like as a child. Whilst other people are totally transformed and barely recognisable as the children they once were. What about on the inside though - do we ever really change?
My friend and I have this conversation regularly and tend to conclude that we haven't changed a jot. And what's more, if we were transported back and allowed to have the same experiences we had at twenty, we would behave just as ridiculously and no doubt make all the same mistakes.
Believe me when I say that we do not come to this conclusion lightly. We met when we were both exchange students in Texas and behaved in such a way that I still blush and feel slightly nauseous thinking about it. Try as I might though, I can't rid myself of the truth; I have not evolved. My life has, I have enjoyed a successful career, am financially solvent and, to all intents and purposes, am a successful, worldly grown-up. Scratch the surface, however, and I am still the same chump I always was.
Widening our enquiry, we decided to scrutinise our other friends, wondering if if was just the two of us who are mentally stunted but no, it's almost everyone we know. If you look beneath the glossy veneers, we are all exactly as we were twenty or more years ago and it seems that nobody really moves on from themselves.
I know only two people, who have reinvented themselves so completely, I barely recognise them. However, looking back even that was on the cards way back when. Both of them were so dissatisfied with what their lives once were, they have successfully eradicated everything from their pasts.
The great equaliser and test of whether someone has changed is, in my opinion, alcohol. Interestingly my two chameleon friends are both teetotal. It's almost as though they fear that if they let their guards down, their old selves might suddenly make a bid for freedom.
The rest of us, well let's face it, a couple of glasses of wine and we are back to what we always knew. None of us have a clue what we are doing and most of our lives consist of lurching from one blunder to another. If by some miracle we do learn from our mistakes, there are always plenty more mishaps to trip us up and remind us that we are ridiculous.