Posts tagged ‘social networks’
Not a week goes by without reading of a home foreclosure where the foreclosed upon homeowner says something along the lines of: “We have a roof over our heads. We’re grateful,” she said of her apartment home now. “But it can never replace a dream home you thought you’d have forever.”
In many ways what someone who says really said was: “my home was part of my identity, and I just lost that part of my identity.”
When I worked at Citigroup one of the things I learned that really resonated for me is that a person’s job is part of their identity, and when they lose that job they lose part of their identity.
For many Americans, especially Americans who live in suburbia, owning a car, and very specifically what car they own has historically been part of their identity. Millennials and I’d argue city dwellers of all generations have distanced themselves from placing their identity in their cars.
I’d be lying if I said a small part of my identity wasn’t wrapped up in my home or how I get around town. But for me I believe its a part of my identity because it reflects the choices I’ve made, I look around at my home, and I have a push for simple natural materials, and uncomplicated colorings. I’ve never quite seen the appeal of owning a house, it seems as much as a money pit as an apartment, with more headaches than its worth.
In getting around town, I definitely own the transit and Zipcar geek label, but that is part of my pattern of becoming a subject expert in an area. Similar to my opinions of houses, I found owning a car to be a huge sink of money, and ultimately not necessary for me to get around. I’d rather take a bus, Zipcar, taxi, or Uber to get around than deal with owning a car.
In this way, part of my identity is not having things I don’t need, or that don’t have some potential of serving a purpose.
Yes, that wording is wiggly, because well, I’m a packrat. But precisely because I am a packrat, I understand the burden of things. They must be organized, labeled, and cared for properly. Plus they require space, lots and lots of space.
But back to the topic of identity. It saddens me that identity is so tied up into what we own, or how we earn our income. I’m sure for some people that earning their income is secondary to actually spending time that they love, but even when I’m at a job I love its still work.
I’ve been in Seattle for about two weeks shy of six years. These six years have been hard. Really fucking hard. I’ve had to push for what I’ve really wanted, and trust myself to make the right decisions, and to accept when I make what turns out to be the wrong decision. But I also think I’ve figured out and become quite a bit more comfortable in my identity. I no longer cling to the identity politics of being a gay man. If anything, I define myself in relationships: with the handbell community, at church, with my cats, within the kinky community, with folks at coffee shops, and that odd conversation with a stranger.
People bemoan that the younger generation is all tied up in Facebook and other social networks. While I’m not a fan of Facebook by any stretch of the imagination, I’d rather people create their identity in their relationships with others, even if thats online, rather than their car or their house.