Seven Year Identity Itch
Getting older – Take it or leave it. Love it or lose it. Fight it or for goodness sake, just do it gracefully.
There is at least one caveat to getting older, however: I find I become experienced enough to recognize patterns in my own life. And seeing personal patterns? This is like a mathematical equation for solving – or at least navigating through – life’s usual riddles.
One such pattern I’ve detected: The seven year identity crisis.
I started recognizing this pattern in my early 30s – although it started long before that. It was a pattern in which I unintentionally began to question who I was and wanted to be. Suddenly, everything just looked and felt different, and I couldn’t find my usual internal compass.
Many call it a mid-life crisis for lack of a better term, although I think this is an oversimplification (as well as at times an overly dramatic explanation).
These challenges should not be blown off, nor given more power than they deserve. They are at best opportunities to re-evaluate ourselves and our place in this world.
So what do these particular psychological disruptions feel like? They feel like the crumbling away of direction, identity and confidence. Yet while this can be mighty scary to experience, I think these rites of passage serve a very important purpose: We sometimes have to break down a little to expose and assess the tenderness beneath… eventually discovering new purpose, meaning and direction for the next phase of our lives.
My best advice: Seek out someone to talk to with whom you can be 100% honest. Express all your thoughts, emotions, fears and dreams. Practice being gentle on yourself throughout the entire process, as if you were as innocent and pure as you once were. Let fall away some of the old You that doesn’t serve you well anymore, and encourage anything better, bolder, wiser or kinder to take its place.
At the core of each of us is an authentic, unchanging self or spirit that can be accessed to help guide us through the maze of life. But we collect layers of personality traits, assumptions, beliefs and emotional baggage throughout the years that eventually weigh us down and cloud our purer identity and intent.
If it feels like a breaking down or falling away, think of it as breaking through or re-building a stronger You. Working with the process – rather than fighting it – is a powerful opportunity to become more self aware, empowered, and positively driven!
No life flows without a hitch or itch or two or three or four more… Your job is to keep the raft in good floating condition and a back scratcher handy.