According to Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development, there are seven stages that each person goes through in which they face challenges that ultimately build their identity. The stages are:
- Trust vs. Mistrust (infants – 1 yr)
- Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (2 – 3 yrs)
- Initiative vs. Guilt (4 – 5 yrs)
- Industry vs. Inferiority (6 – 11 yrs)
- Identity vs. Role Confusion (12 – 19 yrs)
- Intimacy vs. Isolation (20 – 34 yrs)
- Generativity vs. Stagnation (35 – 65 yrs)
- Ego Integrity vs. Despair (66 yrs -)
The sun is setting on my teenage years, but I feel very much in the middle of stage 5: Identity vs. Role Confusion. I am certain that the question of “Who am I and where am I going?” has more than enough public resonance. Example: the Avenue Q song.
There are plenty of opinions out there about what a person should strive toward in life. There are plenty of opinions as to what makes a person successful. There are plenty opinions about what women should strive for as opposed to men, and vice versa. Having lived my whole life in the United States, the national ethos of America has been pressed upon me since birth: the “American Dream.” The notion that freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. That (accoring to James Truslow Adams,) “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.
Sometimes, the American Dream (in addition to seeming like a doorway to opportunity) feels like a weight on my shoulders. I want to live up to the standards.
Only recently have I begun to discover that, when it comes to becoming “who I am”, all that matters is who God wants me to be. I’ve been reading Proverbs 31:10-31 over and over again:
The Woman Who Fears the LORD
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
Needless to say, I am not going to find every answer to all of my questions in any one place.
I just hope that whether I’m meant to be Wonder Woman or June Cleaver, I fear the LORD and I am content.
Peace out, everyone.
Love and Peace,
Song of the Day: Wishery by Pogo