Throughout your schooling years, there is a huge focus on how your identify yourself and who you think you are. from the simplistic primary school drawings of “a brown eyed girl who likes dogs” you start to gain a perceived ‘identity’ that slowly changes as your interests change and you grow, but through the art projects and other self reflecting assignments you begin to build a bigger picture of yourself.
Then comes university, college or trade school and you get to identify with your part time job, your studies and if you play sports. I was a lifeguard who was studying International Development. I felt strongly about both, I was good at my job and I loved my studies so using both as identifiers made sense and was something I was proud of.
This seems to all change when your ‘real life’ starts in your twenties. You no longer have anyone forcing you to draw a picture of yourself or write in a yellow lined journal about yourself. You have to start to figure it out on your own but with the new responsibilities adulting brings (like booking dentist appointments can actually take forever… who knew) it never seems to be a priority. You also feel like you know yourself and maybe you do. You know what makes you happy, sad or angry. But what you don’t know is how you now identify yourself, what you would draw on this new grown up picture of yourself.
In this new phase of adulthood many people seem to identify with their jobs. However, it seems that job titles have become more and more obscure and things aren’t always as simple as being an accountant or a teacher. We were also the generation that was encouraged to study what we love and ‘Figure the rest out later’, which ended up with people scrambling for any job that will pay the bills once you graduate. You end up at a job you don’t particularly love or maybe it just doesn’t feel like ‘you’, so how can you use that to identify yourself?
As a number of us have also discovered that using only your profession to identify yourself can be dangerous when jobs are not completely secure. You find yourself with a wad of tissue in one hand and your severance letter in the other not only questioning your finances but what this means for you as a person.
Re-discovering who you are, and who you have grown up to be will be a long process. As we’re all growing and learning we will have to re-assess who we are and how we want to present ourselves to the world. This is the beginning of many more posts about self discovery and hopefully a nice mental drawing of who you are, and who you want to be.