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Thread: Major identity changes?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Major identity changes?

    I am curious about your experiences with major identity changes.

    What I mean are things like:

    -Going from spouse to single when so much of your identity was wrapped up in your marriage

    -Perhaps something related to a hobby, like you felt like you were floating through life until you took up quilting or base jumping or Kung Fu and then your identity became centered on doing Kung Fu whilst quilting during free fall on your base jumps. Or what-have-you.

    -Maybe a religious or political conversion or de-conversion?

    Very curious. Appreciate any thoughts, ideas, stories.

    Thanks!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    The biggest one for me was becoming a mom.

    it was something I knew I wanted, and when it happened I was all in. Suddenly, for the first time, there was a person who was before me in all things always. There have been times I have done things for my kids that I did not believe I was capable of. Nothing else in my life has come close to that. My children are grown, and it is still the core of who I am.

    i am a wife, I am a teacher, I am a potter, I have a farm (I am not a farmer) but above all, I am a mom. If my kids need me, and it is possible, I will be there (possible includes inconveniences like driving all night or quitting my job.)

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    The biggest one for me was becoming a mom.

    it was something I knew I wanted, and when it happened I was all in. Suddenly, for the first time, there was a person who was before me in all things always. There have been times I have done things for my kids that I did not believe I was capable of. Nothing else in my life has come close to that. My children are grown, and it is still the core of who I am.

    i am a wife, I am a teacher, I am a potter, I have a farm (I am not a farmer) but above all, I am a mom. If my kids need me, and it is possible, I will be there (possible includes inconveniences like driving all night or quitting my job.)
    Certainly a powerful and impacting experience.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Suddenly, for the first time, there was a person who was before me in all things always.
    I couldn't agree more. For me, becoming a father and then eventually a grandfather has been the single most defining thing in my life. Prior to that, it was becoming a husband which I thought at the time could never be topped as a life purpose and defining identity, but oh my, becoming the major influence and protector for an entire lineage is such a humbling yet exhilarating experience it can't help but change you forever.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    Becoming a mom was a big one for me especially because it came as a surprise and the experience changed all my perspectives about what matters. Now, it is fascinating to see DD and her husband as they morph into committed parents to twins, ie grownups. Their lives prior revolved around work and nonstop fun - parties, festivals, travel. We could not imagine them as parents due to their lifestyle.

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    First, becoming a parent - as so eloquently stated above, and, second, being a Buddhist.
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Before UL had any posts on this thread, I was thinking about it and came to the same conclusion as Chicken Lady and the others: I do believe my family defines me. My job doesn't define me because the only reason I got into market research was so I could provide for my children. My hobbies didn't define me because I lost interest in them when I became a mother--except for using skills to make Halloween costumes or take the kids to art galleries.

    Yet, at the same time, I don't expect them to reflect me and my needs. It's an interesting thing, being a parent.

    The only other "conversion" experience I've ever had was going from being a pretty passive person to being someone whose lightbulb experience was one of recognizing my own agency in my life and my future. I am still pretty laissez-faire, to be sure, but I'm far less candle in the wind than I used to be.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Being a mom to 3 boys whom I love dearly. The next biggest was going to get my college degrees and then being able to work in my field at a job I love. Since retiring teaching my college class is really important to me. Next are my close relationships with my friends. No grandchild for me on the horizon.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    I would have to agree that it was becoming a parent. First because I said I never would and at 39 had a inexplicable change of heart and second because it set off a huge sequence of negative events. I always say it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We weathered the storm and after the first four years it settled into best of times.
    Retirement was also a big one for me. My identity was very tied into the PD for better and for worse. It was a challenge breaking from that and at the same time a huge relief from the negativity that came with it. It opened up so many areas of positivity and I've worked very hard to be a glass half full person since.

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    As someone who is currently child-free by choice and who hopes to remain child-free I must say the parenthood answer is truly interesting, but also not surprising.

    It seems like becoming a parent is pretty easy.

    It also seems like the most accessible way for the vast majority of people
    to create and manufacture meaning in their lives.

    And we humans seem to crave meaning like we do water when thirsty or
    food when hungry.

    After all, few of us will climb El Cap or hit a home run in the World Series
    or write a popular song or find a vaccine for some terrible disease.

    But most of us can find another person to have a kid with.

    And while climbing El Cap or finding a vaccine requires incredible skills and intelligence, making a baby does not.

    Now, I think raising a kid is an incredible amount of work.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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