Friday, June 19, 2009

Priorities and Identity Construction

Arya was helping me organise my blog, when I stumbled upon this post:


Identity (?)
Friday, 7th April 2006
11.33 AM
Prins Hendrikkade, Amsterdam

I was just wondering why all-people-with-children's Friendster photos always have their children dominate it?

Is it because when you have children, they dominate your life?

Is it because your identity no longer is about you but about this tiny little thing?

How is it supposed to be?

Questions, questions. Maybe I can only answer them when I have one of my own.


I don't care. I'm never going to be ready. Full stop.

So, change of topic, shall we?


I've always trusted that identity is a complex issue. It is multilayered and will always be redefined according to our environment. There are layers that are more fundamental, which were molded perhaps decades - they are more fixed, yet still adjustable depending on individual characteristics.

However, I'd like to answer the question I'd asked myself 3 years ago.

Yes, my identity has indeed been enriched by the young man I call my son. My life does revolve around him. I still have targets, personal plans, deadlines, but I schedule them around him.

Because I've decided that he is my priority.

The question of whether or not I lose myself in him, is quite tricky to answer. I think it's about balance and priorities. We sort our life based on our priorities to achieve a certain balance (spiritual, perhaps? Psychological, mental? A psychologist would say it is to manage cognitive dissonance or conflict of will in simple terms). Identity is thus constructed by these priorities. We project ourselves consistent to our priorities.

A working woman, whose job is the highest priority in her life, would post pictures of her in conferences, as a speaker, leading a meeting, or with her workmates.

A proud father, whose child is the highest priority in his life, would post milestone pictures of his child smiling, laughing, walking.

A traveler, whose adventures are the highest priority in their life, would post the newest destination shots as trophies.

But I think that their lives are not exclusive to those aspects only. It is much more complex and the most superficial identity, the one apparent to others, are the aspect in their lives that are of most importance to them. It does not mean that their lives are limited to just that.

Then again, there is always the possibility that the image projected has nothing to do with priorities - but more to the fact that we want to create a certain image of ourselves regardless of how we are in person.

Which is kind of sad, really.

But who am I to judge. I just think it's nice to reflect on past queries and moving forward with more to bring. Cheers.

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