Regeneration of Cells


I didn’t know how long.

Recently, I found myself wondering how long it takes for my own cells to regenerate and become something new.  Some of this was out of curiosity, and partly out of inane belief that I would become someone different, and that would be helpful for me to move forward.

I thought about a famous paradox called the Ship of Theseus.  The idea that a ship is initially built, and slowly over time it is rebuilt completely; whether out of necessity or because something was worn or damaged. Once the ship is rebuilt, the question is: is this the same ship, or a new ship? (more about this here)

So, what did I find.

Brain: Never Regenerates  (mostly)

Red Blood Cells: 4 months

Skin: 2-4 weeks

Bones: 10 years

Heart: 20 years

I find solace and poetry in the strange fact that my mind is “eternal” while my other parts of me are fleeting. I find it strange how slow the heart is to regenerate/heal fully. The blood that pumps through it will change over after four months, but the same heart is still pumping new life-blood for another 19.66 years.

So, am I the same as the Ship of Theseus, will I be the same once I’ve fully regenerated all my cells, or will I be someone new, or something new?

Without the obvious fallacy of comparing myself to a ship, I see the hope of change and the comfort of retaining who I have always been.

So, may I change, may I heal, may I be renewed.

And, may I always be the same.

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