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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

My identity

As a boy, I was known as the son of the local hairdresser. That sufficed for me. I was proud of carrying the family name. In my working life, my employer(s) and my job title(s) provided large parts of my identity. During my 2013 burnout, I was afraid that people might see the L (of Loser) branded on my forehead. Today, I'm less sure who I am.

Any identity has various attributes besides given name and family name: male/female, young/old, bald, tall/short, straight/gay, weight, spectacles, smart/dumb, etc. Most of these attributes answer the What question, and not the Who. I suppose the Who question has become relevant to me because I have ample time and think a lot.

Recently, a Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Kwame Anthony Appiah, "a British-Ghanaian philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist". I enjoyed reading this (Dutch) article, called: A life without identity does not exist, but don't make it too important.

For two decades, I was an angry, unhappy and dissatisfied person, following a failed marriage. My 2010-2014 divorce was a relief, albeit with a hefty price. My 2013 burnout changed my identity. In my solitude of 2015 and onwards, I found happiness and satisfaction (eg, Aeon-2017). I cannot imagine cohabiting with another person. I enjoy my solitude.

Early 2014, my former longtime girlfriend recommended writing to me, for therapeutic reasons. My initial 2014 blogs still show an angry person fighting perceived injustice. That tone did not fit my 2014 recovery. For months, I stopped writing. After introspection, I changed my tone from negative to positive and started writing in English.

My writing is the latest attribute of my identity, following earlier attributes like auditor, CFO, consigliere and resultant. By the way, consigliere means "trusted advisor" for family businesses (and friends) rather than "mafia buddy". The Godfather popularized that title.

Despite the above attributes, a new Possibly Maybe said she doesn't understand me. She claims that I am aimless (NL: doelloos). She wonders whether I'm a genius or a lazy bum, which is kind of funny because the 1979 movie Being There is one of my favourites.

Perhaps, I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky nowadays: "A person who is incredibly optimistic and high on life. They are usually peppy and make the best out of every situation. They're fun to be around and can brighten anyone's day." I can only hope that the last line is valid.

Last night, I felt a sudden urge for sending a video (see below) to my Possibly Maybe. After writing this blog, I now see its relevance. Perhaps, I am an enigma to others and to myself. Most of all, I have returned to the innocence that characterized my childhood.

Return to Innocence (1994) by Enigma


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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