Over the past few weeks I’ve been going to a couple of events with my friend that studies at the University of Ottawa. Most of these events are either through the university or through students she knows at the university. The more I go to these events, the more they make me think. Every one of them is an opportunity to meet new people. Names are exchanged, hands are shaken, and then, for lack of a better conversation starter, they ask you what you’re studying/what you do. Your identity.
In my grade 12 sociology class we learned about Daniel Levinson’s “Age 30 Transition” theory. Essentially, it’s the idea that at around age 30, we begin to examine our lives and decide whether or not we are happy with the decisions we’ve made. Consider it a pre-mid-life-crisis, but without the red ferrari and Just For Men. However, no one will tell you about that awkward period around your late teens/early 20s. Let’s call it the Age 20 Transition.
It’s not awkward in the sense of the societal stigmas behind not being in school or knowing what you want to do at the present time, but more of the fact that you might be feeling conflicted with your identity. In my case, I was always the music kid. “Where’s Fraser?” “I dunno, probably at band practice.” I was the head of the music council, part of 3+ bands, and listened to music that was so out of date, the most scandalous act mentioned was touching hands or kissing. That’ll make a person blush any day. However, up until this week, I had barely even touched my saxophones since leaving school.
That being said, I’ve started adopting new identities since this past Fall. Since I started writing on this blog and exploring the idea of working with new media in terms of a future career, a new Fraser is emerging. One that writes down his thoughts, explores the thoughts of other writers through countless blogs, and wants to make an attempt at something completely different then what he set out to do.
Like I’ve said in older posts, this is the time of my life where I can change my mind, and that’s what I’ve done. Many times. It’s not necessarily a time of crisis, but more a time of exploration and discovery. I’ve opened myself up to a lot of new things and my outlook on life has become a lot less narrow. I’ve discovered that I don’t need to set my identity in stone at this moment. I could sit around asking myself “Who is Fraser?”, but in the end, what good will that do? Considering I’m starting at a new school in the Fall, that Fraser could do a complete 180 on me and I’ll be right back at the start.
I guess for the time, I’ll just have to take my own advice from earlier on in the year and continue trying on different masks. Maybe even making a few on my way. Some will fit. Others won’t, and that’s something I’ll have to figure out on my own. So, if you are in a similar position to myself and are experience this unacknowledged “Age 20 Transition”, then know that you are not alone. Since, leaving school I have talked with countless people going through the same conflicts. Everyone seems to be switching programs. No one knows what they want to do. And that’s cool. Don’t let it get to you.
Anyway, I begin training for my new job this week. I’m required to wear khakis. I guess that’s part of my new identity. I hate khakis, but if it means that I have a job, then I will readily embrace the “Fraser That Wears Khakis.” Like always, good luck with school, with jobs hunts, with life.