I have been doing a lot of thinking about what makes up a life. How our culture intertwines our identity with our work or the roles we play in life. Why can’t our life just be our life and the roles we play in it be just that, roles that we play. I see so many people, including myself at different points in my life, totally tied to their identity at work or our role as a parent. But our life is so much more than that.
I hear about people killing themselves because they can’t support their family, but what in our society leads people to believe that supporting their family is the only value that they bring? How can we start to separate our roles from our identity? I believe it is most prevalent in our work lives. So many in our culture have their identity totally wrapped up in their work, which causes them to stress and get agitated when their work isn’t going the way they want. They become short with important people in their lives, like their spouse or their kids.
In addition, where does that leave stay at home moms like my wife? She is an amazing person, but people question and judge the role of a stay at home mom since we put so much value on our work identity.
So, where does this all start? I believe it starts when we are younger and influenced by so much marketing and messages about achievement. I am struggling these days to accept the fact that society and the world around us has more influence on our kids than we do as they become teenagers. Their beliefs and behaviors emulate their friends more than their parents. When the values of society match yours that wouldn’t be a problem, but right now I don’t believe that my personal values match those of the general society. Not sure where to go with all of this, but just writing it down helps me to come to grips with the reality of our lives.
I hope that if you are reading this that you are able to separate the roles in your life and you value your entire life, not just the work that you do. Our life includes all the roles we play and all the other lives that we impact. One of my favorite movies ever is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” What would the world look like without George in it?
“Til next time ……