Looking back at how far you’ve come

In celebration of its 8th birthday last week, Twitter released a tool that lets you input your username, and it will retrieve and display the very first tweet you ever posted. Not only did this lead to trips down memory lane, but many people also took to entering the usernames of celebrities like Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks, and President Obama.

That made me wonder when I first signed up for Twitter and what my first tweet was. I knew a rough timeframe–my first year of law school–but there were so many things going on back then that I had no clue what the topic of my first tweet was. “The Dark Knight” was on its way to theaters. The Baltimore Ravens drafted a young quarterback named Joe Flacco. And apparently I was sitting in the basement of the law school at the University of Baltimore doing my homework.

That’s right, if you input my username into that tool, you would see that my very first tweet ever was, “Working on my BLR exercises. If you know what those are, pity me.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be some epic, mind-opening message revealing just how far I’ve come as a person in the past six years. Fortunately, it was law-related, or else I would’ve had to come up with a different idea for this blog post.

People have always evolved over the course of their lives; in the digital age, however, there’s finally a permanent record of that change. Instead of telling our children stories about the foolish things we did when we were young, we can just log into our Facebook accounts and show them. But this digital archive can serve just as well to remind ourselves of how much we’ve changed from one period in our lives to the next. Sometimes it’s a good change, and sometimes it’s bad, but we’re ultimately the sum of all those changes.

When I think back on who I was when I posted that first tweet six years ago, I can’t believe some of the differences from the man I am today. Back then, I had only just begun law school. I was doing well in some classes, less well in others, and I thought I knew what I eventually wanted to do after becoming a lawyer. Now, I’m four years removed from law school, I’m barred in three jurisdictions, and I am in a completely different place professionally than I had ever anticipated.

I’ve made friendships with people that I would enjoy working and socializing with for the rest of my professional life, but I’ve also drifted away from almost as many. I’ve created in my mind a thousand different paths that my legal career could take, but I never once conceived of the unique opportunities that I’ve been given and that I still have in front of me. But every choice I’ve made, every step I’ve taken since I first whined about my BLR exercises has contributed in their own way to the man who’s writing these words now.

And the same applies to you, Constant Reader. Think back on where you were six years ago and the kind of person you were back then. Now consider where you are today, and exactly how far removed you are from that person. Has everything worked out the way you planned? Probably not, but would you even change just one moment of that time, if it meant giving up the person you are today?

I sure wouldn’t.

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