Discovering our true self is a large part of the journey of maturity. And we need a solid sense of our identity to forge meaningful relationships with others. But the transition from childhood to adulthood is not the only time this is true. We must often rediscover ourselves again as we move into the second half of life.
Young adulthood is often characterized as a type of late adolescence – the period between childhood and the full responsibilities of adulthood. And it’s generally understood as a time for young people to find themselves. To be sure, many waste these years merely chasing one empty high after the next. But there is still value in having a season of self-discovery.
In fact, we need a reasonably solid sense of who we are to maintain healthy relationships moving forward. It’s hard to love and sacrifice for the good of others when we don’t even know who we are. And this lack of self can lead us to becoming overly needy or a bully in the relationships we do have as a way to compensate for our lack.
While ideally young adulthood is a good time to cover ground in our initial identity formation, to be fair, this is an ongoing journey. And we might find ourselves as we’re approaching the second half of life needing to be intentional about this process of self-discovery again.
Perhaps we’re simply learning ourselves anew in this season of life. Or maybe we realize we didn’t do a good job figuring things out the first time – living for decades merely as a character in someone else’s story rather than knowing who God has uniquely called us to be.
In either case, we must now allow another season of self-discovery. Of course, we don’t get to completely go off the grid – neglecting our duties and relational obligations as we do. But our work, marriage, family, and friends would all benefit from us spending intentional time to find ourselves again.
In the end, knowing who you are blesses all those you are in relationship with. Take the time needed to find yourself as often as necessary.