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August 27, 2002: If: Somebody else, not me

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If Project- August: If you were to reinvent yourself, what is it about you that absolutely should be changed? What radical improvement do you think others would hope to see in you?

I think what strikes me most about this question is what popped into my head immediately upon reading it. My weight. That's what I would change, I thought, before I could let the question percolate in my mind at all. A faster metabolism. That would be it.

But then I pushed away the obvious and started thinking seriously. Okay, so the weight factor would be nice. But how truly radical would that be? I'd be thinner, true, but what would it do for me? If I'd never had to worry about my weight, would I have gotten so gung-ho into this whole bicycling thing, I asked myself. And the answer came back abruptly - of course not. What would have been the point? And then I asked, if I never had to worry about my weight, would I have worked so hard to eat healthier? And again the answer came back a resounding no. I would be living on Pop Tarts and Ice Cream, on Burger King chicken sandwiches and chocolate chip pancakes. I wouldn't be having nearly as much fun trying out new recipes, finding ways to make eating healthy taste so darn delicious.

Pushing aside the obvious answer of a physical change, however, makes this question suddenly much more difficult to answer. What would I change about myself if I know I could? What would others want changed about me if they had their choice?

And the answer is that I don't know. Perhaps I could be a bit less blunt. Perhaps I could be a bit less opinionated. Perhaps I could have had career inclinations in a direction that didn't end up dragging me smack into the middle of the technological employment field at a time when all the tech firms are going belly up.

Or perhaps I could just change nothing. Because the thing is that I like me just the way I am, warts and all. If something were to radically change, I wouldn't be me anymore. So I might always fight the shyness when I have to deal with new people. So I may always be battling the bulge. I'd rather accept me the way I am and not spend time wondering about who I might have been if only, if.

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