The problem of my generation today is that we have all the freedom we want but we do not know what to do with it. The social media encourages us to promote ourselves. The free ads told us that we could be absolutely anything we wanted and that doors would open, we just have to choose what doors to take.
I’m 20 something and 30 is not so far. I’m not really working hard to make a living. But I can go wherever I want. I don’t know how to define myself. I don’t know my destination. I have so many interests I don’t know what career suits me best. I love my spare time where I could dream that I am managing my own business or that I have a family of my own. Then comes the real problem. This freedom – this life. Educating myself about the right food, while drinking alcohol regularly as part of the lifestyle. Not watching TV believing it is full of ridiculous nonsense but keeping myself updated about stupid things people share online. I don’t know where I belong. I am exhausted how much attention I need to put to myself. Sometimes it really makes me sick.
One of of the most important psychologists Erik Erikson wrote in his Psychosocial theory of development the stages that I think is very relevant to Identity exploration throughtout the lifetime. In the stage, Identity vs Role Confusion this is the time when young people explore possibilities for their lives in a variety of areas, especially love and work. Those who are familiar in the theory understands that every stages both have successful and unsuccessful outcome. He stated, “In general, it is the inability to settle on an occupational identity which disturbs most young people.” We ask the questions: “Who am I?” and “What is my place in this world?” When the individual is able to assess their personal attributes and match these with outlets for expression available in the environment, Erikson would say identity has been formed. However, when the individual is unable to manage this developmental task, role confusion occurs. The formation of identity is a major event in the development of personality and associates with positive outcomes (Marcia, 1993). Identity provides a deep sense of ideological commitment and allows the individual to know his or her place in the world (Hoare, 2002). It provides one with a sense of well‐being, a sense of being at home in one’s body, a sense of direction in one’s life, and a sense of mattering to those who count (Erikson, 1968). Identity is what makes one move with direction; it is what gives one reason to be. Erikson clearly believed that having a solid sense of identity is crucial to further development. Obviously,not all people successfully resolve this developmental task.
They said we are in the Age of Instability. In my personal point of view I am in a full and intense period of life but also an exceptionally unstable one. I used to have a plan, like idea in my head that when I arrive at a certain age, I want to have like this or be like that, and so on. Now it’s been years that I continuously revise this plan. These revisions are a natural consequence of my personality as I adopt easily to any situation I am in. For example, last year I made an evaluation that it’s better for me to stay in my country. I wrote down the pros and cons. I am very convinced. I left Milan happily. Then I was in my country, and I realized things I wanted to do don’t depend solely on me. I had a difficulty dealing for a good location that I saw. (which was very essential to the business) Then the cost of living that is much more than I have thought, the difficulty of the transportation, the small percentage of rich people that dominates our country, the long hours of work that pays very little. All the same problems which I also expected. And then when the opportunity knocks again to leave my country, I said, “ok why not?” Again, time to revise the plan. I demonstrate my instability from how I move from one residence to another. I have no idea where I will be living from one year or with whom I will be with. If I have a job whether temporarily or permanently I move. Then I have housemates, some I get along with, some I do not and then I move again. Then I move in with a boyfriend, in the beginning it’s convenient, then it’s more complicated, and I move again.
Then this Self Focused stage, that sometimes I’m getting sick of. Picky when it comes to jobs so I can have time for my boyfriend – weekend is a big NO. Make ups to put on. An item that costs a month of salary in my country. What clothes to wear? Which bar are we going out tonight? Too many self indulgent decisions. I am aware there is nothing wrong with it. It could be healthy. And it’s absolutely temporary. I believe this is a foundation, a process to a self sufficient me in the future.
So in looking to the bright side of the situation, I am in a stage of exploration and instability, a self-focused stage, with an endless possibilities.
My path is still unknown to me for now. I hope when I arrive to Erikson’s last stage that is focus on acquiring wisdom, that I can look back in my journey with a feeling of integrity. That I will stop asking what is the point of life? Is it worth it? That I will have reflection but I will have a feeling of contentment and fulfillment not only because I have lived the life I wanted but mainly because I have led a valuable contribution to the life of other people and in this society.