Rejecting my indoctrination and societal conditioning was easy. However, changing my conditioned behavior has been incredibly difficult. Whenever I react emotionally, I immediately fall back on old, conditioned behaviors (due to the ease of such behavior I guess — it requires no thought at all on my part to behave in the way I’ve been behaving for most of my life, to simply follow the programming).
Perhaps I’m too hard on myself for believing that, after 37 years of conditioning, I ought to have taken full control of myself in only 3 years. But I know my old ways are wrong, and shouldn’t that be enough? Well, apparently it’s not and I sometimes fool myself into believing I’ve made such great progress when there is yet so much work to be done.
When I first recognized that the way I’d been conditioned to be was wrong, it was a big step in my progress. So big, in fact, that I thereafter referred to my new self as “Stu 2.0.” Since then, several small steps (yet each one no less significant than the first, but only possible because of the first) have brought me up to what I consider to be Stu 2.4. A very long ways to go yet before we get all the bugs out.
Each time I make progress, I get excited and look at my past self and give it the figurative finger. I am incredibly ashamed of my old self and I wish that person never existed. And yet, at the same time, it’s only because that person existed that I am able to be grateful for the wisdoms I’ve gained since.
And can I just say how much it sucks that it’s taken me half a lifetime to garner any level of worthwhile wisdom? How much better I could’ve made the existences of those around me, those within my influence — my wife and children most of all.
But enough about my old, wrong self. He is dead and deserves no mausoleum. It’s time to work on improving my current self to become one worthy of being remembered, even if only by my own posterity!