Character Growth

I’ve been sad lately, and one of the ways that’s expressing itself the last couple of days is staying up too late and reading through the archive of one of my favorite webcomics, Questionable Content.

It’s been an interesting (and good!) experience. Getting to watch the art, the narrative, and the characters all evolve in a sort of sped-up way.

It was jarring at first, seeing who the characters were when they were first introduced. They were so different than they are now, in the comic’s continuity. And of course reading through, the changes make sense. They’re explained by the narrative, and the experiences the characters had.

I’m wondering, then, if that’s how we are in real life, too. If I went back five years and looked at snippets from my own life, would I be recognizable? Would I think, “Gosh, the writers really lost track of this character over the years” because of how different I was? What about from 10 years ago?

Is it only because we experience change in the slow motion of every day life that it feels like a form of continuity? Are we all some kind of quirk and habit-based Ships of Theseus, made of up familiar parts, but maybe not any of the same parts we used to have?

Perhaps that’s a reason why journaling can be so good and healthy and also interesting for the purpose of like, past-self gossip. How much of ourselves do we just lose along the way, with no record? Does it matter?

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