From an older person’s point of view, it is amazing to think of all the identities we have been through during our lives. All of which, we are likely to accept at the time as simply being part of ‘life’.
What we realise as we become older, wiser and more aware is that we get to know our choices, perspectives, attitudes, values, strengths and exactly how we contribute in the world and towards other’s lives, how we perceive and create our own identity.
As the life stages that take us to each natural next role and/or life ‘calls us’ to do and be a certain way, at some point we get to decide, to agree, to accept and choose (or not) to be committed to each role. With each stage of life, we carry all our transferable skills, character, wisdom and knowledge into the next. Our evolving identity, as we move into our next new me!
As an example; in doing a stock take of my own life, I realise that I started out as a sister, a daughter, a cousin and niece. I then grew into becoming a student and friend. I personally did not have the opportunities to have any interest, hobby or sport other than brownies as my parents were not that resourced, however I did adopt lots of interests that my parents’ aunts and uncles had, all of a practical nature. Certainly, a sense of family and family activities became part of who I became as I grew into adulthood.
In time I became a girlfriend, an employee, an adult student, a wife, a mother and parent. It is certainly a learning curve to experience being known as a person’s wife or mother and not as our own self. Losing a sense of self can bring defining moments and the resulting indignation and motivation for us to claim – “hey, I am me, I have a name, please see me!”
After finding more of a place in my community as a volunteer I felt inspired to explore my future in community work. With fear and excitement, I took charge and sought a tertiary education in my late 30’s motivated further by a marriage breakup and an underlying belief that I was setting an example for, and seeking a better future, for my children as well as honouring my need to grow. As a result, I developed a professional identity alongside my solid identity as a family member.
Each and every stage has been a wonderful opportunity for personal growth! The pain and the passion! No doubt you, the reader will relate to that too. Both our challenges and rewards at each stage helps to build our character and deepen our sense of identity, don’t you think?
Keep in mind these helpful tips as we transition into our evolving ‘next new me’ during our ‘silver years’:
“Only when you accept that one day you'll die can you let go, and make the best out of life. And that's the big secret. That's the miracle.”
― Gabriel Bá, Daytripper