Sunday, 26 October 2008

The CROSSROADS (Part1) - IDENTITY


21, 22, and for some the 1st 6 months of 23 are the defining years that will chart the course of one's life.




Let's for the sake of discussion call them "The Crossroads".




If circumvented appropriately "The Crossroads" will be the entrance to "the best years of one's life", if not they will be the entrance to what I have previously referred to as a "half-life" ultimately culminating in "a mid-life crisis" (for the lucky ones) or to "a bitter and resentful latter life".




Notice that my use of cliché after cliché is deliberate.




This concept of "Crossroads" and its repercussions is true for all, consequently, any description or discussion of this issue will be hackneyed.


In cultures or environments where one is forced to mature earlier (as in some parts of Africa) or later (as in some parts of Los Angeles) the exact dates of the "Crossroads" might be different but the experience is the same.


At the "Crossroads", three main issues require clarification after which a choice of one of three paths must be made.


The three issues that require clarification are:



  • IDENTITY: Who am I?

  • DESIRE: What do I want?

  • PURPOSE: Why am I here?

and the options for the paths are:



  • To conform with what is expected of by family, peers, teachers, the world (easiest)

  • To rebel against all expectations - contrary for contrary sake (stupidest)

  • To seek an individual path honestly - recognising the need for guidance when necessary, but at all times being true to self (hardest)

IDENTITY


Who am I?


I am in the middle of my crossroads and therefore, I have no idea what the answer to this question is.


It was rather unsettling to realise that at 21 I am still unsure of my identity.


I know what I am...

  • I am Christian
  • I am human
  • I am female
  • I am black
  • I am Nigerian
  • I am Yoruba
  • I am a sister
  • I am a daughter
  • I am a friend
  • I am a medical student
  • I am an avid reader
  • I am a film-lover
  • I am a budding writer
  • I am an amateur vocalist
  • I am British-educated

but This is WHAT I am not WHO I am.


While, all of these things in some part might contribute to who I will eventually realise they I am, they are NOT definitive of me. Regardless of what others might be predisposed to think.


I know that for certain.


The path to realising identity is riddled with uncertainties therefore, realising without a shadow of a doubt that WHAT does not equal WHO is a step in the right direction.


It is not something of shame to experience an identity crisis, it is part of the maturing process.


It will pass (gam zeh ya'avor) and when I am finally able to answer this question and the other two questions of Desire and Purpose -which I will be discussing in later posts- I will finally able to leave the "crossroads" zone and start to honestly seek my individual path.




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