It's my 25th birthday today.

The feeling is somehow more significant than my 18th or my 21st. I don't know if it's the roundness of the quarter-century figure, or maybe my memory of past birthdays has faded. Whatever the reason, I feel more like an actual adult now than I ever did at any of the previous milestones.

How am I different from one year ago today? My personality has not changed, my hobbies and interests remain similiar, I am still haunted by the same unexplained difficulty in making consistent and direct progress towards my goals. My successes have slowed the process of growing up considerably, and that is not in my best interest. Change is motivated by necessity.

If maturity can be measured by self knowledge than I'm afraid I have a long path yet before me. If I've changed in the last year, it's a new-found determination to stop running, to turn and face my demons; to get to the bottom of my self. I have been to therapists before, but I think I subconsciously manipulate them to satisfy my own ego. My thinking is not obviously flawed, at least not in its outward manifestation. Rather I think I have deep ideas that could use some refinement. Ideas based on formative childhood experiences that do not satisfy my refined worldview, but are buried too deep for direct extrication. Is it futile? Perhaps damaged goods can only be replaced, and the older mind is indeed crusted over, indoctrinated into its own outdated thinking. Something inside me rejects this idea though there is evidence of its truth all around. Regardless, I have one question that I need to answer:

What parts of the self are its essence, and what parts are the result of experiences?

I realize the question is unanswerable by science. Communication itself is dependent on shared experience between people. The whole concept of humanity as expressed throughout history is merely layer upon layer of associations formed through sensory input. But, for the individual I believe greater insight is available through introspection. Not thoughtful introspection, but thoughtless awareness. To move beyond the physical buzz that permeates our brain and feel for the deeper meaning. Buddhist meditation if you will.

There are two things that have been problems for me as long as I can remember. The first is difficulty staying focused and concentrating tasks that are not urgent. The second is geeking out on things like computers and video games. Why I think these things are problems I'm not sure. Do I really believe they are problems or is it just that I've been conditioned to believe that? I know my family always had high expectations that I rebelled against, and I know geeking out on the computer didn't make me a spectacular conversationalist at the grade school level. But those things are meaningless in my world now. I have the respect of my friends and coworkers, so all that's left is to respect myself.

I'm not sure whether I do or not.