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  • Writer's pictureSarahHauer

Personal Evolution

I came across a photo of me from 2018 when I was very ill from Lupus. It was in conjunction with an article I had written about living with Lupus. I could not believe what I was looking at. I didn't recognize myself.

When I went into the covid lockdown, I looked one way. I came out of it looking remarkably different. As I started attending public functions again with friends I had not seen during the lockdown, I was appalled at how people did not recognize me. Well, looking at that photo, I now understand.

In 2018, my hair was chopped short from weekly low-dose chemo; I was way over-weight from lack of exercise because I had pain all over; my complexion looked positively green; and my clothes were a half-step away from pajamas coupled with compression wear. I walked with a cane or walker because my back was in terrible shape; and, my eyes were barely open from all the meds I needed.

Today, May 11, 2023, my hair is shoulder length and blonde; I am still a little over-weight but much better than before because I walk a lot; my complexion is the correct color for my genetics; my clothes, while still comfortable, are more appropriate for outdoor wear; I walk upright as a homo sapiens sapiens should; and my eyes are mostly open but not as much as I would like thanks to ongoing Lupus fatigue.

I look way different. I feel way different. And then I noticed something else - I write different too.

I read that article from 2018 a few times and looked at previous articles I had written during all the years I was deep in my health battle. My outlook on things is remarkably different. It isn't that my outlook back then was wrong and my outlook today is right. It's simply different. Back then, I was fighting for my life. Literally. Today, I'm fighting to pay bills and have some funds left over like many of you. But my life is not at risk. I have changed more than the status of my health. Everything about me has changed. I evolved.

Many eons ago, I was a technical archaeologist; meaning, I have a bachelor's degree which limits what I can do in the field. To be accurate, it is a degree in Anthropology, Archaeology emphasis, lithics analysis specialty. In other words, I used to be able to look at a rock and tell you whether it is a stone tool or a natural formation, what the tool was used for, and how it was created. I knew how to use fancy Archaeology terminology like debitage, bulb of force, tertiary surface, etc. I once chipped off the tip of a beautiful flint spear point out in the field. I should have been fired from that dig. That was a lithics tragedy I have never forgotten.

I have now listed three different versions of myself: the Archaeologist, the Lupus fighter, and the woman in remission. There is also the mother, the wife, the daughter, the religious zealot (according to my children), and so much more.

The general public has this definition of evolution that isn't quite correct. Even some dictionaries have a slant that shouldn't be there. They define it as change over time that leads to more complexity, better development, more advanced. No. Evolution is simply change over time. Change that happens in response to existing conditions. Changes may be an advantage at one point in time with certain conditions, but may be a disadvantage at another.

Look at giraffes. They evolved long necks to reach their food source. Those long necks are an advantage that other animals do not have. What if something ecological was to happen that led trees to become much shorter, or disappear all-together, so giraffes would have to bend down to eat? Those long necks would no longer be an advantage. They would need evolution to happen. Either the trees would need to grow tall again, or the giraffes would need shorter necks.

As I look at photos of myself over time and read things I have written, I see myself evolving with changing conditions. On the one hand, I celebrate my ability to adapt. On the other hand, I caution myself to not let go of long-held values that help define who I am such as my integrity and spiritual beliefs. Both are important. What should be retained? What should be adapted? What aspects of myself should change with the times? What should I preserve from the changing times?

Conditions change all the time for us humans. We grow up and grow old. We develop and lose relationships. We have various health conditions both good and bad. We have internal stressors and external strife. We have pressures from the world at large both societal and natural. We have experiences that lead to phobias or resilience. We may grow in understanding or suffer from callousness.

The one cool thing us homo sapiens sapiens can do other creatures either can't or have difficulty with, is we can have a level of consciousness in our own evolutionary process both personal and as a species. Personally by seeking out ways to grow and develop. And as a species by being aware how our surroundings and technological capabilities are changing. I am referencing the rapid development of artificial intelligence and climate change.

Today, I'm a writer riding the line of remission. Even though I have been this person for a couple of years now, it still feels pretty new. Other things in my life are drastically changing too which are changing my views of life itself. I am actively evolving. It's a little scary. Mostly, I'm curious to see how I turn out in the end.

Did you evolve during or since the covid lockdown? Did you or the world around you change too?

Thanks for reading!

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Humor In Chaos


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