A common reaction when presented with Change, is to freeze. It is biological, flight, fright or freeze.
Most of the time we don’t think about who we are. Then something comes along, expected – or more likely as an adult not – perhaps a sequence of events back to back.
Common rites of passage are moving from being the oldest children in primary school, to being the youngest and possibly smallest in the next one. University, college and work, and we experience all this again. Getting married, having children, losing parent. Changing roles.
So much of our identity is tied up in who our cohort is at any time and in what we do. How we behave signals to others and to ourselves who we are. The patterns of behaviour, the regulation and cycles of the work place, of our lives, reinforce this sense of identity.
As we get older there may be some aspects of ourselves that we become certain about. It might be a role relative to others, a skill that defines us. As our careers progress and change we will in all probability do more things that strengthen that sense. Where we belong and who we belong with, what we like, what we are good at.
What we are good at, is especially seductive.
And then life in the form of events occur and we attempt to stick or adapt.
Sometimes the adaptation is gradual and subtle. Later when looking back you might label it insidious.
There is a line from a song The Frog Prince by Keane:
“You’ve wandered so far from the person you really are”
that comes to mind. It’s not a cry against development. It’s a cry against a set of mis steps, each innocent in their own right which leads to a crisis point.
And a questioning which for most people is healthy. A necessary reappraisal. The process can be thrilling, or destabilising of both.
And its then we start asking, who am I in a different way.