I hadn’t been to San Francisco in over a year and was excited to see the city again. I’d spent the past two months unsuccessfully hunting for jobs in the SF tech world and had begun to feel like my having an Economics/Accounting degree was about the same as saying that I’d chewed rocks for four years. Fortunately, a company was interested in just such a rock chewer, so I came to San Francisco for an on-site interview.
Throughout this post I’ll be talking about identity a lot, so I’d like to start by defining what that word means to me. The simplest thing that I can think to say is when we ask ourselves the question, “Who am I?” what comes to mind? I like to break my answer up into two parts: the roles I play and character traits. By roles, I mean things like father, friend, profession – the areas of our lives where we attempt to derive purpose; and with character traits, I’m talking about stuff like pretty, funny, short, smart, etc. – stuff that’s less important than our role, but still significant in determining how we view the world and how we feel the world views us.
I also won’t be addressing religious/spiritual answers to identity because that’s an area that I’m still working through myself. I will be using Buddhism as a means of deconstructing identity, but I won’t be talking about Buddhism’s answer to who we ultimately are. Most religions/spiritual beliefs would say that we are an eternal soul, or the Universe, or nature, or the image of God, or something along those lines, and while these concepts of who we are are certainly worth delving into, they are not something I feel confident talking about, so I’ll be limiting this post to a discussion of secular identity.
More specifically, I’ll be talking about the loss of identity that many people experience after they finish their schooling.
Pro – The Commute
I teach in my room, which means I have about a six foot trip from my bed to my desk to get to work. There’s usually very little traffic, except for the one day that there was a spider on the floor which did cause some serious delays.
It’s called La Matanza, and it involved the killing of four pigs. This may seem like a brutal tradition, but in comparison with the animals I saw at Primark trampling over each other in a consumer frenzy, it felt right at home with the holiday spirit.