Are you really still you?

In the last two days I've had two wonderful emails from very old friends. They are girls I went to school with in Pakistan, one of whom was my first ever 'best friend'. I haven't seen them since I was 18, and that's more years ago now than I like to admit to.

I was absolutely delighted to hear from them, and a little sad that I do not know them now as adults. While we are still friends, and will probably always call ourselves friends, I don't know them as I would like to.

It brings up these questions: are they still the same people they were when I knew them? Does the fact that I was close to them once mean that I can still say, "I know them well"? Am I still the same person I was 30 years ago? 10 years ago? a month ago? yesterday?

Do our experiences shape us over and above our natural personality and character? Would we still recognise each other despite the diverging of our paths and the passing of the years?

Friends who met as adults may not find these questions as challenging. Is it the change from childhood to adulthood that matters most?

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