The bonus you get with the middle age in addition to a paunch is the quest for the question – who am I? For many the question it self does not arise. Blessed are those. They live a contented life or not depending on whom one is talking to. They might also be so busy in the race of the daily grind, that there is no time to pause and ponder. The struggles of life take over the luxury of time.
For those who get the question, how do we connect the dots? Where do we start the quest? Is there a definite answer at the end of the tunnel? If I do get an answer, does it mean that everything is crystal clear from then on. After all, if I can unravel who I am and understand, then there should be nothing more complicated in this world. When we set out to seek the answer to a question, there are more questions that we encounter.
Drawing the attention back, it is very important to have a sense of identity. Does belonging to a country/place identify us? Or is it in the association with a certain idea or ideology? If it is so, then what if the ideology changes, or we no longer believe in it because of changed circumstances.
If we go one level deeper, it could be in relation to those around us, who we call family and friends. I am xyz’s parent/sibling. I have gone to college with abc. Identity here is wrapped around the relationship with our immediate and intermediate society. The social and familial structures define who we are. Does that mean that the identity is a reflection of what we are with respect to an anchor/person in our life. Yes, it is. It is this strong bonding that we have which is sustaining the social fabric of the society.
What if we want to go deeper. It does not mean that there is no contentment with the association and relationship. What if the relation which was once central is no longer the focal point. Case in point is that of parents with their children. For the parents, the children are the center of their universe when the kids are young. Children look up to their parents and their life revolves around them. In the teenage years, there is a certain distance that comes with the territory. Parents might be continuing to be in the same state whereas the kids are outgrowing and spreading their wings. The empty nester syndrome sets in. Some couples grow closer during this period and start defining their identity around each other. Some might pursue other interests in addition.
When there are interests that are beyond the familial pursuits of caring, sharing and providing, do they form the framework of an identity. Does that dictate the day to day living? Does that provide more contentment and a sense of destiny? Occasionally life might throw curve balls, which question your sense of identity? When the base of what we consider “I” are shaken, how do we cope with it? If that sense of I was intertwined with another person, and that relation undergoes transformation, does that impact our sense of self?
Can we have a sense of self, that is beyond and not linked with the physical attributes, the relationships, the dimensional attributes. This does not in any way undermine the relationships. But it is in addition to it. It is the “Core” within self that sees it self in that light. Not only in the sense of what we are with others. Will that become an anchor for ourselves? A rooted feeling that comes with an association that we deem worthy of.
That sense of identity is very self driven. It can also change as we grow old or matured because of life experiences. It cannot mean anything to other and is futile to try and explain. It is like having a charter of life which we define for ourselves. It is our own address mapping, very own GPS in the web of life.