The concept of identity is based upon the condition of being oneself, and not another. It’s the nature of who a person is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person.
But wait. Does that mean that we each have only one identity? Does that imply that our identity never changes over time? I don’t think so. I know that my nature, my beliefs, and my perspectives have changed over the years. I am not stagnant. I am a work in progress.
Sure, my name has not changed since I was born. My Social Security number is the same as it was when it was first assigned to me. But I am not the same person I was when I was a child, a young adult, or even a middle-aged adult. My inner identity has evolved over time and circumstances.
And even now, my identity is different based upon who I’m with and what I’m doing. To those of you who read my posts here on WordPress, I am Fandango, the blogger extraordinaire. To my family, I am the provider of food, clothing, and shelter. To wife, I am her husband and lover. To my kids I am their father and role model (or at least I hope I am their role model).
Before I retired, my identity was wrapped up more by what I did for a living than by who I was. No one ever asked my kids “who is your father?” It was always “what does your father do.” Now that I’m retired, I’m just the old guy who lives on the corner and walks his dog to the park four times a day.
I sometimes don’t even know my own identity; it varies based upon who I’m with and what I’m doing. None of us wants to be monolithic, rigid, unchanging over time. We are complex organisms. We adapt to circumstances and over time and that changes our identity, and even our own definition of who we are.
Who doesn’t, to one degree or another, have a secret identity? Who is a completely open book? Who wants to be?
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “identity.”