I had an encounter today which caused me to ponder these things. (I'm not going to reveal who this person is out of respect and professionalism.) I was playing a character and only interacted with this person while I was in character. I knew the identity of the person I was to work with beforehand so it wasn't a complete shock when I walked in, but there was still that strange moment of recognition. It felt like I knew this person and then remembered the truth.
The work we were doing together was very far from the field in which this person had achieved their fame; this may have made it easier to forget about who they "had been".
That idea of "had been" crossed my mind and I thought about how awful it would be to have to fight against an outmoded image of yourself. Reinvention - or even just progress - can be challenging for ordinary people. I can only imagine what it must be like when the world has you boxed into a particular place in that world.
During our encounter, nothing was mentioned of the old world. What a relief that must be!
The bigger lesson from today's experience was a reminder about meeting people as they are, with no preconceived ideas. Being present, interacting in the moment and responding according to how they are today is a good thing to do with anyone. A deep level of authenticity and honesty is possible if both people in the conversation are doing this.
I'm pleased to have had the opportunity I had today. My only regret was that I didn't have the opportunity to engage with this impressive person as myself. Truthfully, I may have been a little bit star struck when it was all over.
What did you learn today? Who did you meet today?