Monday, December 10, 2012

Quarter-Life Crisis Symptoms: Identity Crisis

           If I were to ask you, “Who are you?” what would you tell me? Would you tell me your name? Would you tell me your ethnicity? Would you tell me where you’re from or what you like to do for fun? What would you say? Would you tell me where you work or what you’re studying in school? Would you tell me about your sexual orientation? Would you tell me about your family and friends? What adjectives would you use to describe yourself? What about your religious affiliation?  Now here’s the real question: Do any of those answers really justify who you are?
               Identity Crisis! That’s a way to sum up a quarter life crisis. Who the heck am I? So here we are in our mid-twenties trying to figure out who we are. You would think that after about 19 years of living with ourselves we would have figured it out by now but for some reason we’re probably more confused now than we’ve ever been. I always would think to myself, how do I even answer a question like who am I? Yet I think “Who am I” is journey of the quarter life crisis.
Much time and thought is put into that question. Our desires and decision-making stem directly from who we are. During a quarter life crisis, people often have confusion over their identity. Maybe they’ve been headed down a certain path only to find out that, not only do they not like where they are headed, but they never did in the first place. Or maybe they were supposed to figure out what they wanted in college and never did.
The truth is our identity is an ongoing process. People are never static in their identity, but rather are always changing based on the experience of life. The best way I can describe a person is like a river. Let’s say we could record one spot of a river for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. How many different things would see if that video? How many different leaves would cross that screen? Get stuck on a hanging branch before continuing downstream. How many different people would you see playing in that spot of the river? Some stay there for hours and come back day after day, others just simply drifting by as the current takes them downstream. What about beneath the surface? Sure there would be rocks on the bottom on that spot of the river but even that would either find its way downstream push by the current or stable but eroded by the water, maybe covered in algae after a while. There would be days and there would be nights. Maybe the river would get frozen in the winter and flood in the spring.
Aren’t you like that spot of the river? Constantly changing and moving? You aren’t the same person you were last year and you won’t be the same person next year. There will be many days and many nights. There will be many leaves (experiences) you have. People will come and go. Some only once in your life other stay a little longer. Even the rocks of your life (your deepest beliefs or convictions) will change over time, and sometimes life will leave it’s lasting mark on it (that’s the algae). So who are you? Who are we? Who I am? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll be a different person tomorrow and a new person next week changed by this week’s experiences. So who am I you ask? The best way I think I can describe myself is I am a Professional Human Being hoping to retire with my name in the Human Being Hall of Fame.  

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