*Warning: there are a couple references to “The Time of the Doctor,” so if you hate any kind of spoiler and haven’t seen that episode yet… um, you can read the doodle-comic. That’s spoiler-free. At least as far as Doctor Who is concerned.*
I just want to say right away that I have not seen Peter Capaldi’s first full episode as the Doctor. Blah blah, no access to BBC America, blah blah. I have no idea when I will see it. But it seems more than a little probable that when I do, I won’t like Capaldi in the role, or that I’ll be lukewarm/indifferent to him. This has nothing to do with his merits, and everything to do with the fact that I often resist change.
For the record, Capaldi’s performance does seem to be a success so far. (Warning #2: there are spoilers in this link, though they are announced beforehand.) But basically, I’m the old version of the Doctor, looking at the new TARDIS, always saying, “I don’t like it.” It took me forever to warm up to Matt Smith, no doubt largely because Tennant was my Doctor, the one who got me interested in the show. I’m more prepared to like Capaldi, but I still wouldn’t be surprised to catch myself saying things like, “He’s fine, but I liked Matt Smith better.”
Knowing that, I can arm myself against it. As with new songs, I can outwait my knee-jerk “I don’t like it” response, and develop an opinion that’s (hopefully) based on the character of the thing rather than its contrast with my familiar universe.
I find it kind of odd that I have so much trouble with certain changes, where in other areas of my life, I love new things. I grow my hair long and then chop it all off. I seek out new life and new civilizations new foods, new restaurants, new places to explore.
Maybe the difference hinges on my definitions of “change” and “new.” Maybe to me, new implies options. The old thing is still there—I can go back to it any time. The new thing is simply added to the list. Change, on the other hand, means that the old thing is gone. I can’t get it back. The hairstyle won’t grow out; I can’t order my old favorite; I really can’t go home.
I don’t know if that’s true. But as the Eleventh Doctor reminded Clara, we’re all constantly changing. So it’s probably good to appreciate who you are today. You never know when you might have to say goodbye to that person. More likely, you won’t say goodbye. You’ll just be living your life when suddenly you realize how different you are. And perfect or not, the You of today has some awesome traits. Not to say Future You won’t, but that You’s awesomeness will be different.
As far as remembering who you used to be, as recommended by the Eleventh Doctor—this is the completely biased opinion of someone who collects and loves to write in notebooks, but you might consider some form of record keeping. Written, filmed, whatever. It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to time traveling back to visit my past self.
And speaking of time travel (*clearing throat*), if anyone wants to tell me what they thought of Capaldi, I’d love to hear it. Without spoilers. I’ve established that I don’t personally mind them, but I don’t want anyone else to have to worry about them here.