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Identity – personal reflections

I had an insight this week. Its profound, though it will sound like a cliche. I’m not a cliche.

I’ve been sick. That knocked me down a peg. Two weeks of virus. Not covid, got tested. But the feelings that went with the flu were bigger than I used to have with a bug like that. Age. I’m 77. That means the question “Will this flu ever end?” wakes me up, my health is more fragile than it has been, anything can happen. Covid. This year I had psychodrama events planned all over the calendar, and also events with colleagues. In the second half of the year, nothing. Everything cancelled. That was 2021, 2020 was worse. Add this: bypass surgery in March 2020, has taken a toll. In unexpected ways, the surgery worked well, but sleep problems with restless legs creeps in deep every night (pills help). Ah, pills also impact my mood. And the recovery took a long time… perhaps its ongoing. The recovery impacted my relationship with Kate. We grappled with our relationship this year. Successfully. And the outcome is that Kate has leapt into a new phase of self loving. I’m good, but the process has shaken me. We are in a transition: looking for a place where she can live with her horses and her need for rural spaciousness is satisfied. Selling and buying. Loss and adventure. Transition. In 2019 I retired from 50 years of work as a psychotherapist. That means before 2020 came I was already in in a life transition. One that was not processed when the heart attack came along. A retirement transition. Ongoing.

So here is the insight:

A flood of life changes impacts identity.

A sense of identity is built on some things that don’t change. A change here or there can be worked through. Too many and something can break. A fracture in the identity container is a stress.

So now I am falling. Surrendering. Surfing a decline. Perhaps I’ll learn to fly? Maybe there is a landing place?

Those notions are from a poem Kate got from her mother:

“When you come to the edge of all of the light you’ve known, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown; faith is knowing one of two things will happen. You’ll have something solid to stand on, or you’ll be taught how to fly.”

I lack the faith.

But the fall is ok.

 

 

 

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