Changing Understandings

As a teenager and a young adult, I used to frown at the idea that we change a lot over time. To my naive mind we did not change as people. I could see no major changes from one day to another so no major changes could have happened at all, right? I know better now.
Changes of the mind, are often never from a single moment. They may be triggered by a tipping point though. It is often that we only see how much we have changed once it has happened. The small daily shifts are often missed; more so, when we talk of the mind.
As I start another year of my life, I feel it is necessary to think of the changes that are “recent” to me. There must be many I will see and understand later of which the wheels must already be turning. We shall come to them when their understanding dawns on me.
As I contemplate, I realize the last few years have been a journey of shifting loyalties to some of my own understandings, ideals and ideas.
There are, ofcourse, those that are still the core to my being. Ideas I believe so strongly in that I do not see them changing with time. I may stand corrected with respect to some of these later in life. Let’s see.
Then there are the ideas for which my change of thought process stemmed from knowing more now than before. Be it politics or feminism, movies or music, my standpoint or tastes were limited till recently by limited exposure. As I learnt more, step by step, I began to think of all of these and many other things very differently than I once did. I now understand that these should keep changing so as not to stagnate and rot. I should strive to keep knowing more continuously.Finally there are the understandings of life that have shifted for me due to direct experiences. This, for the most part, has ideals I held regarding emotions and their expression, and regarding people.Emotions and their expression had only one form for me as I was growing up. If one didn’t feel or share the way I did, they certainly were “wrong” to me back then. It took me until recently to realize that it is of no consequence if the other person doesn’t express the way I do or even feel at the intensity or direction I do, as long as we have a common understood and often unsaid baseline. This baseline is necessary to avoid hurt and unwarranted expectations. Beyond that, others around me shall not always feel the way I wish or express in a manner I draw most comfort in. That is as much their prerogative as it is mine. There are no right or wrong ways of feeling and letting the other know how one feels.
The other major change has been in my understanding of people. While I prided in my instinct on judging people, a few instances over the last 3-4 years have made me understand that my gut feeling and first impression is fallible. Fair warning, my mode and intensity of connect with people has not changed at all, I still do attach quickly. However, now I detach quickly too. This was not the case earlier.
I have understood that while people may be black, white or any shade of grey, these labels are also based on my changing and fallible definitions. When the definition is incomplete or based on missing knowledge, so is my categorization. I would think this has humbled me, though I cannot be the best judge of that.

As I spend my afternoon wondering what all has changed and what all must be changing by the day as of now, I truly grasp for the first time the concept of the Ship of Theseus. Am I the same person I was this time 2 years ago? Have just the parts (understandings) in me changed or have I? Are these two different things at all? Oh and while I am at it, Who really is Janhvi Pant? What is it that defines me at any given point? My changing understandings?