How Much Do You Really Change Over 5 Years?

A few years back, I was browsing through a book store when I happened to come across something called the “Q and A a Day” journal. It’s a small book with 365 pages, one for each day of the year, each with a single question and five separate spaces for answers. The idea is to answer a question a day throughout the year, but then loop around and answer the same questions again the following year, repeating until you’ve filled up the journal and answered each question five times over the course of five years. In this vein, you could look back through the journal and see how you’ve changed over the years.

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I thought it was a really neat idea, so I picked up a copy and got to work…

…and in true “Tracey Tobin” fashion, I promptly forgot about it a few months later.

Now, recently I found the book and figured, hey…it doesn’t really matter if it’s five consecutive years of answers, just as long as I end up with five years of answers in the long run, right? So I started working on it again and have been doing so for a few weeks, scrawling answers to the questions for 2017 under the answers I had previously written back in 2014. And I have to admit, it’s been eye-opening to compare the two sets of answers.

So have I changed dramatically in three years, or am I practically the exact same person? Honestly, it’s a little of both! I make an effort not to look at my previously-written answers until I’ve come up with the new one, and yet sometimes I’ll glance up and realize that I’m writing the exact same sentence down, sometimes even word for word, making it seem as though my mind is a carbon copy now of what it was then. Yet, with other questions I’ll look at the previous answer and think that surely some other person must have written that, because it couldn’t have come from my brain.

In general I guess I just have to say that I’m surprised at both the similarities and the differences. For instance, stress is something that I feel like I’ve been dealing with for about a year or so, and yet according to some of the answers I wrote in 2014, I was very much dealing with it back then as well. When it comes to opinions on things that I never thought would change, however, my old and new answers are sometimes as different as day and night and make me wonder how I ever could have felt that way.

It’s been interesting to look at, for sure, which is the entire point of the journal, so I guess it’s doing it’s job! It only makes me wonder how much re-reading the answers is going to hurt my brain once I’ve actually managed to fill it up with five answers per question!

When you look back at yourself, do you see huge differences? Little ones? None at all? How do you picture yourself in the future? Do you expect that much will change, or do you feel that you’re pretty much set in your ways? Feel free to share!

8 thoughts on “How Much Do You Really Change Over 5 Years?

  1. Absolutely I have seem huge differences. For starters, it all boils down to being laid off from my employer in 2003. Because of that, the choices I made in the proceeding years have brought me to being on FB, commenting on your blog and being a writer.

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    1. A lay-off is definitely a big life change that can cause lots of little changes. Back when I first started the journal I was switching from one job to another, and they were drastically different, so it makes sense that some things would change quite a lot!

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  2. What a fun idea! T gave one a book similar to that to her dad. But it didn’t have the repeat option. He answered about 20 questions 🙂 I think mine would be similar to yours, the same but different.

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    1. It’s genuinely hard to remember to stick to it. lol Sometimes I forget about it for a week and go back and try to answer everything, but sometimes the questions are things like, “What was the yummiest thing you ate today?” so if you wait too long you completely forget what your answer would have been. lol

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  3. Wow that sounds really cool! This sort of relates to some things that have been on my mind lately. In just the last year or so, I’ve changed quite a bit. A lot of the things I used to think were important I no longer think are important, and regarding personal opinions and beliefs, in many cases I’ve come to believe the exact opposite of what I used to believe. The me from five years ago would be pretty shocked if he were to meet the me of today. A diary like that must be a really interesting tool for tracking those kinds of changes over time.

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    1. You should think about picking one up! It is, really, a pretty neat idea. Just a little difficult to remember to do sometimes. lol
      It’s definitely shocking to realize how much you can change so quickly though, right? In a lot of ways I feel like I haven’t changed a bit since junior high school, but in other ways I feel like I’m a totally different person.

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