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It is common knowledge that you can’t change the past. It is claimed that you can change your relationship to the past by retelling it in ways that fit your current needs. And, with each retelling of your new story with an ever more positive spin, you can remake your past self into a whole new person. With a bit of lying to oneself, you can become that new person. I don’t recall anyone who actually did this, but it sounds plausible. Perhaps there are professional actors who change their persona to fit a theatrical role, and I’ve encountered some introverted people who can successfully play extroverts that have scripted characters.

Some personality gurus tell us to just be ourselves. If we do that we will soon be accepted as we are and be loved. That might be true for people who are totally loaded with positive lovable characteristics, along with being beautiful, rich, well-educated, and always saying the right thing at the right time. I have known and presently know people I really like, but not one of them matches that shortlist of easily attained qualities. Well, not so easily attained.

Looking at that spontaneously written list it now appears to me that being rich might be the easiest to attain. Just make more money than you spend. Being well-educated might sound easy, just go to school. But I’ve been there, done that and have seen many people with degrees who fail. Read George Vaillant’s Triumphs of Experience, 2012, for examples. Being beautiful is tricky; even George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston have had their bad days. Saying the right thing at the right time has many supposed masters, but you can watch the master of improv, Steven Colbert, make  major goofs fairly often, and there is some editing of his show.

The hardest thing to change is the present because the moment you think about it the present is already past. The only thing you can change is the future.