(Ay, I know that Onopordum acanthium is a biennial plant. So what?)
I’ve already mentioned that I often pay undeserved attention to symbolic links between unrelated things. My year is larded with dates which make particular days outstanding beforehand, even if in the end nothing unusual happens. Nevertheless, there are times when it’s not so undeserved. Like today. I divide my year in three parts I call Trians (happily creating an English plural of a Gaelic word) with Hogmanay (symbolic in too many ways to be easily dismissed), 28 August, the day I for the first time came to Scotland (it’s been more important than birthday for me ever since) and 6 April.
Initially it was just one of those many anniversaries. But as I was learning more about the importance of the Wars of Independence and the Declaration of Arbroath in Scottish history, its importance grew. Sure, it’s highly artificial – if it fell somewhere else in the year I’d probably use a different date to divide the year more evenly. But then, is there any reason, apart from tradition, to have the turn of the year when we do, rather than on winter solstice or spring equinox?
Anyway, that’s how things are, and so it was only natural that a year ago I began with this “Thrissel” identity on this very date. I didn’t simply switch over from my former Net identity. Yet during the rest of the year I gradually either cancelled or stopped using all the former accounts. (I haven’t deleted all my old account’s LiveJournal posts, and unwatched all the en-wikt pages on my old username’s watchlist. But I’m working on it.) Although I communicate with several people who knew me by the old identity and who presumably don’t know about the change, I haven’t posted a single letter or character under the old nick this year. Neither I mean to do so ever again.
So how do I compare these two identities? In favour of this one, of course. You can’t change your ways overnight and I’m certainly still doing many things I don’t like, but I’ve learned a bit as well. I don’t think I’m deceiving myself if I claim that I’m not as ingratiating lest somebody takes offence at something I say. People will anyway, after all. Not as contentious, as ready to react each time I hear something I disagree with or disapprove of. And not biting off so much more than I can chew. (Indeed, my list of things to do has been growing shorter, while before it has been growing longer – but that’s a matter for a blog of its own.) Altogether, I feel calmer, more relaxed, more self-confident, perhaps even braver.
No, not nearly as much as I’d think appropriate in my age, let alone as much as I’d like to. But I’m moving in that direction, in no slow pace as well, considering, and that’s what matters.