Many of us have lots of questions about what the rest of 2021 will bring. When will the pandemic end? Will I be able to return to my job, or will I have to reinvent myself? Will the kids be able to get out of the house? Will I be able go to a concert, travel, or visit my relatives? Can I hug people I love, or will everyone important to me be relegated to a little square image on my computer screen?
Yet behind all of these questions is one that will more fundamentally determine our experience: “Who will I be?”
A webinar participant told me, “I was in Manhattan at the time of the 911 attack. After that incident I called myself a ‘911 Victim.’ After a few years, I got tired of defining myself as a victim, so I called myself a ‘911 Survivor.’ That eventually felt too heavy for me, so now I call myself a ‘911 Witness.’ Where do I go from here?”
“Now you become a ‘911 Student,”’ I told her. “Then you will graduate to become a ‘911 Master.’”
After the webinar, I told my partner Dee about the participant’s progression up the ladder of identity. Dee replied, “After she is done being a 911 Master, she will ask, ‘What’s 911?’” When you grow out of a limiting self-definition, you leave it behind like a snake sheds it skin and moves on to new territory.
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