Sunday, 12 April 2009

Discover yourself

When I took the title 'discover yourself' for this post, you may have conjured images of a heartfelt essay about the importance of truly understanding yourself, your soul and being true to that self. Sadly, I don't think I'm anywhere near in a position to lecture anyone about that right now.

What I was referring to is that strange tendency we humans seem to have of constantly surprising ourselves with our decisions or tastes. I'm talking about the little things here.

For example, I assumed for a long time that I absolutely hated navy and would never wear it, after I got rid of my very first pair of glasses (which were, admittedly, ghastly). And before I knew it, I realised that approximately 70% of my wardrobe was made up of various shades of blue. The rest was black and grey. Now, I am embracing colour again, so you are more likely to find me in bright pink tights and a huge purple bag - although they will probably be accessorising a navy dress, of course.

Similarly, I struggled for a while against reading any books written over a hundred years ago, until I encountered the marvellously 'modern' Becky Sharp of Vanity Fair. Now I actually find it very difficult to read the latest fiction. Sure, there are a few modern classics which I loved, but I think the problem is that the latest releases haven't had to stand the test of endurance over time, so there is a lot more crap to plough through.

Testament to this complete 180 I have done in terms of my taste in books is my 'unfinished' shelf - every single book on there was written after 1900. And they're all books with a good reputation too: On Beauty (just lost interest), The Trial (I got the message after one chapter - and oh my God Kafka, could you please use paragraphs???), The Accidental (pretentious, much?). Well, you get the picture.

So all this leads me to wondering about the nature of taste. Evidently our tastes and preferences do evolve, but is this evolution endless? Or do we reach a point when we have fully discovered ourselves? And in that case, were our previous preferences merely misguided errors in judgemet, due to current fashions, our peers or our ages? What do you think?


  1. I sort of get what you mean. When I look at my likes now and what I liked a couple of years ago it's almost frightening. Sometimes I wonder who I was when I was younger because I don't associate with my teenage self much at all! My family tends to me more shocked than me--they STILL can not get over the fact that I like vegetables now!

  2. I know - it's like, 'you, eating tomatoes?? what???'

  3. I would say that the things I liked before will always be things I like to some degree and that it's more about exploring new things and adding to that 'like' bank and storing it all up, adjusting the different levels of liking along the way...
    A 180 from one thing to another isn't something that happens that often for me...

  4. I think we change constantly with our tastes- and that is the beauty of living. I myself have changed my tastes more times than I can shake a stick at. I like classic movies then go on to modern ones; dresses then move on to wearing nothing but pants for months; high heels then flats, colors then black and white ensembles!
    So sorry I have been MIA- missed your posts and can't wait to catch up! ;)

  5. Ha-ha, yeah, and it makes me not want to eat those things in front of them b/c they always have a reaction!
    P.S. I wasn't going anywhere special...I hardly ever go anywhere special! :)

  6. I like this post - it really makes you stop and think for a second why you do the things you do. I believe we evolve and we are trying to be more open to new things or we meet people who are. I think that's good - your life is never boring!