I apologize for my lack of posts. This week got really hectic and I just didn’t find the time to sit down with my thoughts. When I finally did think about what I wanted this week’s post to be I realized identity was a big factor in my adjustment to a new city, university and schedule.

When I think about who I am, I almost always think in terms of where I’m going. I work backwards from where I want to be to where I am now. But it makes me wonder how who I am today influences who I want to be. If circumstances of my present were different, would I still want to get to the same place in my future? Would I still look into the future and see the same person or would I be looking at someone completely different? When I thought about these questions, I had no difficulty answering yes. However, it made me wonder why this is the case.

Our experiences, particularly those in childhood, shape us tremendously. As we get older, our experiences polish pieces of our identity we have already established. The person we seek and find as we “grow up” was always there. However, our experiences help us tap into these elements to make us more self aware and understand who we are and what that means. In other words, these experiences open and close the doors that lead us to the destiny that has long been in place. If I look back on my life through this lens I can see how this has panned out for me in more ways than one. For this reason, I believe I would be on the same track in my future if I was presently in a different situation. Understanding that my fate is fixed based on what I want it to be is a key in understanding my identity.

I like to define themes for consistency because abstract words have different meanings to different people. This is true regardless of the agreed upon definition(s) one might find in a dictionary. I often struggle with writing a clear definition for many ideas just because there are so many ways to describe ideas that seem right. Identity is no exception to this, and in fact, it can be even harder. In my opinion, there are more identities than there are people on this planet. I don’t believe every person has one distinct identity that fits them. I also don’t believe any two people have the same identity. This means that there are more than 7 billion identities on this planet and how dare we create a definition that fits all of those?

We need to focus solely on our own identities. This begins with looking at what identity means to us. This includes how we see ourselves, how other people see us and how we want other people to see us. Asking this is no small task and that’s why people are constantly searching for who they are and what they want. Mid-life crises are a perfect example of how a mistaken identity on any level can perpetuate far into our lives. I chose this topic because I feel like I’m at a time in my life where it’s a huge issue and I know it is also an issue for people near my age, both younger and older. And in investigating the topic, I realized that there’s no shame in searching because everybody is always searching for something. It may not always be a piece of their identity but the once found it is fairly likely that it will reveal something about the person’s identity.

Regardless of whether or not we are actively seeking to learn more about ourselves, we will find out more about ourselves. However, when we are seeking this form of knowledge it’s important to remember not to feel ashamed at the lack of information. It’s important to open ourselves up to whatever we find out because it is important. It’s also important to note our reactions to what we find out; if we discover something we don’t like then that’s something that needs to be addressed. If we discover something that we do like, that needs to be addressed differently. Finally, when we have sufficient information for our current situation, we will feel somewhat at peace with ourselves and that is a great feeling.


Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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