The above photos feature my friend Amanda and I in 2015 (left) and 2018 (right).
Identity is defined as who or what someone or something is. All my life I’ve been told this and that about how finding yourself comes with time. And yes, with time comes experience and with experience comes identity. But does identity really solidify with age? I think that rather than finding who we are as individual people, we are becoming the same person—at least we are on paper.
Today, I met up with my friend (who is practically my second sister) Amanda today to play tennis but mostly to catch up on life, as we do. As we half ran for lobbed balls and laughed at our rusty tennis skills, we discussed the struggle of introducing ourselves concisely and understanding who someone is through their description of themselves. An hour and a lot of bad tennis later, we came to the conclusion that it is especially hard nowadays to capture personality and essence through an introduction because for some reason, the things that people focus on and use to describe themselves are often fundamentally exactly the same.
For her, she was choosing a roommate for college when she decided “Oh well I’ll just choose to get a roommate randomly assigned,” because everyone’s description of themselves is the same.
For me, I’ve been talking to some people who I’m going to be spending the summer with on a volunteer trip (if you’re reading, hey guys!) and I had to give an introduction about myself to them through our forum.
What I’ve noticed in my conversation with Amanda and just as I grow up in general is that there is seems to lie a stark contrast between the basic things that we all use to describe ourselves as teens and adults (name, age, where we come from, our accomplishments, maybe even interests) and how we used to introduce ourselves as children.
When I was younger, I didn’t describe myself by those same basic things that everyone says about themselves but with personality traits. Growing up, we animated ourselves more than we can afford to do now.
While I realize that growing up demands knowledge on a wider scale and provides a more diverse understanding of the world, I also think that it whittles away at personality and individuality. The lack of life in our basic view of ourselves is a result in the competitive nature of society today and just the fact that we are growing up and maturing.
Yet, I am completely aware that this deadening of written uniqueness is necessary and inevitable because conformity is a very present desire for people and can mature individuals. It is also vital for individuals to come across in this similar manner because it is what people want to see and it is what ultimately equates to poise and sophistication. What I have learned is that it is not just the system that necessarily needs reform but it is also society and its aging individuals that need a reminder to remember who they really are beyond surface-level introductions and self-descriptions. Ultimately, identity doesn’t solidify with age, it develops, but it is up to you to never forget it.