Looking back on my life, I wonder if the things that were important to me yesteryear are still important to me today.
Here they are: 1. Absolute integrity. Sometimes I thought people wanted the honesty they asked for when instead they wanted approval or comfort. Now, as I look back, I guess I would have done things differently. I would have acknowledged their need and gently moved away. I need the kind of people in my life that do not say one thing and mean another.
2. Loyalty and faithfulness. Once given, always there. In days gone by, I would be loyal and faithful to people who had long ago moved on from me, and because I hung on so long, believing that there was some spiritual point to my loyalty, it cost me a lot of time in my life. Today, I still value loyalty and faithfulness, but I have learnt to move on when it appears that those qualities are not valued.
3. I grew up, connected to some deep presence I felt around me. It kept me safe. I spoke to it, thought it was God. I thought it brought me through impossible, terrible situations. I no longer believe that there is a personal God. I still feel some presence surround me but I am more inclined to believe that there is another explanation. I know that had I known then that there was no God, I wouldn't have wasted my life. Today I know that I can do no more than my best.
4. A sense of deep responsibility to humanity. It has cost me dearly, but it is still with me. Now, my sense of responsibility towards humanity is tempered by the realization that I can only do what is within my means, and I do not have to harm myself if it costs too much.
So, while my basics characteristics haven't changed, I've grown to express those characteristics in a different way.