I went to a bit of Swarthmore’s Alumni Weekend. Two-year reunion for me, and five-year for my friends in ’05, many of whom were there. It made me think about (among many other things), my recent trip to Ireland.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as Santayana put it. I think it’s quite easy to forget one’s own past, and visiting old friends and old haunts, as I did today and as I did in Ireland, reminds one of things.

In both cases, though, I very much felt like I was intersecting those past experiences from a new angle. Of course, figuratively—I had new experiences and thoughts and such under my belt, and so do the other people involved, and things are always changing. But also literally—in both cases, I interacted with the physical space differently, different spots had meaning. I feel like I should say something about memory and thought being at least partially physically instantiated, but I am not entirely sure I want to go that route. It could be a side effect of the recent high dosage of Swarthmore.

I feel like I’ve become more clear to myself lately. Some people say that self-discovery is not, if you’re doing it right, pleasant. I’m not so sure. What one sees may not always be pleasant, but honesty has, for me, an intense joy. Or perhaps this isn’t self-discovery, but self-understanding. I’m being purposely vague, but ask me about these thoughts if you care. The essence is that one’s past self does things that make more sense seen not just in hindsight, but from the different angles afforded by returning to past sites and people. Reunification. With friends, and, if I want to be pretentious enough, of the self.

tl;dr version: I like my friends. They help me better understand myself.