There is a question that has been spinning in my head for quite a while. Probably since a was a teenager even if only lately I’ve been able to shape it with words.
How can I navigate changes, inside and outside, without losing my identity?
I am well aware that change is a constant in nature. Everything, including me, goes through a never-ending and never-pausing sequence of changes and transformations.
Identity, on the other side, comes from the Latin word “identitas”, meaning “sameness, oneness, state of being the same”. In philosophy, identity is the relation each thing bears only to itself.
When we talk about human beings, my understanding is that with “identity” we refer to the aspects of a person that make her unique. A set of properties and attributes through which a person recognises herself.
It looks like change and identity are on the opposite side of the spectrum.
How can I change without losing my identity?
How can my identity help me navigate through changes?
When I was a teenager, I discover what became one of my favourite characters of all time; Captain Nemo from “20,000 leagues under the sea”. The word “Nemo” is a Latin word meaning “nobody”. Captain Nemo was a prince who gave up his identity to be free. The motto of his submarine, the Nautilus, was the Latin “Mobilis in mobili” which may translate as, “moving amidst mobility” or “changing in the changes”.
As you can see, even if I wasn’t aware, the relationship between identity and change was already there in my early teenage days.
All of this to say that I haven’t found, yet, an answer to the opening question. Maybe there is no answer but staying in that tension, in the space in-between identity and change. But if you have found one that works for you, I’d love to hear it.