Identity crisis? I don't think so. Yet there can sometimes be an overwhelming feeling of "Who am I?" when I find myself shifting between my current roles in the world. Right now, I'm in uniform, and I have been in this role for the better part of the last month. When I'm in uniform for longer than just a few days, it feels right, I enjoy it more than not, and I want to keep Soldiering on.
When the uniform "comes off" (literally rather than figuratively here, because a Citizen-Soldier really continues to be a person in uniform in daily civilian life, too) I return to my career in the private sector, and there is a different pressure but a very different type of fun too. And it feels right and and want to keep hitting the computer buttons and talking business and growing in my civilian career with the great company I work for, and with.
As a full-time graduate student (again), I have tons of reading and writing and class-attending to mix in with the military and civilian roles, yet when I'm "dialed in" to the curriculum I really, really enjoy it and feel like it has everything to do with the direction I'm headed in life and I need to and want to continue to do that, too. On the surface, my graduate program has nothing to do with my civilian career, which I fully intend to continue for a long while, and it also is separate from at least my next immediate few years in the military. This adds to the "Who am I?" of my call to continue this study when I already have two major roles that do not currently coincide with it.
I'm a new parent, and it's wonderful and in so many moments I feel that's there's nothing else in the world I should be doing rather than just being family with my child and my wife, and all the other family (blood or otherwise) that regularly touches my being. There's a reality of course that in order to have those moments I still need to work, maintain a home, provide food, and be an active player in the communities I live in. But in the same way, just being family is a place I really just want to stay in forever.
Then there are those times when I have been given the opportunity to deliver messages. Whether to the graduating high school class, a group of Scouts, resident volunteers of a community, or the members of a church congregation...I truly enjoy bringing thoughts and ideas I have put together, perhaps well-referenced, to other people. It is a challenge for me to get started in the preparation phase of delivering a message--though when I have put in that effort, and put myself into the words shaping the message, the actually delivery is so fun! Where does this part of me fit in amongst all the different roles?
I could go on and on. I truly love being connected to many communities and the various roles in which I relate to each community. I'm a business owner (DBA), I run a local media channel (Wayne County Life), I'm an elder at my church, a member of a summer residential community, an alumnus of an academic Greek fraternity who maintains ties to current brothers and other alumni, a huge fan of the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, a willing traveler, a compulsive social-media content producer, etc. etc.
I don't pretend there aren't others who are also uber-stretched like me, because in many aspects of community efforts--across various organizations--I certainly see many of the same faces over and over. Yet, there is only one me, and I'm not sure how the others feel about the multiplicity of roles in their lives. I sometimes feel like I should have someone diagnose me for my tendency to say "Yes" and put myself into so many different places, and seemingly at once. Most of the time though, I just love being me. When the thought about being "too busy" comes up, I always come to the conclusion that it's much easier to be American-busy and over-committed when a person is doing the things that he or she loves to do.
As for me, I love what I do. So I'll do it, and the way it works out in the big picture of life is in God's supremely-capable, creative, and gracious care. Amen.