No, not that kind of identity. No espionage here. I was reading Time Magazine in June and saw a question to Joss Whedon on his quote about identity as something that is always being formed.
It made me wonder and think about how I look at myself now versus 10, 20, or 40 years ago. Based on my own experience, I agree with Joss. Through new experiences I find out new things about myself. I look at things I’ve said, and in retrospect, they led to what I needed to hear.
I’ve done things that have created “forced” growth – not knowing it at the time. I’ve seen things, especially in practice, that I’ve wanted to share with younger colleagues only to find out most of them don’t want to hear it. It reminds me that those young colleagues are on their own journey and want their own experiences.
I ran into this a couple of summers ago, being confronted with “This is my experience and you’ve got to let me make my own mistakes” from a colleague in the next generation. It is difficult to understand why someone does not want to learn from the wisdom of the previous generation, especially when you can see what’s coming… but then what do we know?
I can hardly believe I’m gonna say it: “Funny how perspectives get reversed with age.” When I was a young practitioner, I seldom asked for help from people my own age. My mentors then were from the previous generation, those living their success with a great deal more experience. I felt my “elders” had the life wisdom and mistakes that I could learn through. They were also authentic and had nothing to prove to me – unlike many of my peers.
Today, it is different. People wear this mask of success while trembling underneath. They’re scared to be vulnerable and ask questions outside their peers, so they suffer, perhaps needlessly.
Receiving “wisdom” from elders just makes sense – doing so helps us avoid many tough lessons.