In art, pentimento is the process of old oil paint on canvas as it ages, sometimes becoming transparent. When that happens it is possible sometimes to see the original lines intended for the painting. The artist may have had an entirely different idea when he or she began. A dog may become a child, a building may become the ocean. It is called pentimento because the artist “repented” or changed his mind. It’s a way of saying that the old idea, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and seeing again.
I have a herd of caribou marching across the tundra which possibly will change into a high mountain scene when I next pick it up. They have been marching for several months now and I think they have gone as far as I can take them.
Putting it into a human context, I think people are much like that. How many of us retain the idealism and energy of youth? It is Time which is our pentimento.
Our careers change, our bodies change, and even our outlook on life changes.
But is it a bad thing? Sometimes. But as in a painting, perhaps the end result is much better. Or not.
I prefer to think we gain wisdom and patience that wasn’t there in the first attempt.