Roles and the self

How many roles do you have/have you had/will you have in your life: daughter, father, neighbour, friend? Count them. It is an interesting exercise in itself. Can we add worker to the list?

Whilst you are working, whether self-employed or employed, there is another role. For example, you are a teacher, a train driver, a salesman: all well-defined; others roles may involve work that is not so clear to our society.

How is your sense of self, your identity and meaning, bound up with your roles? Very obviously. To cite 3 examples; I think of the mutual obligations of parent to child, worker to employer, or the ethics of practising as a doctor. Now let’s set this in the context of postwork.

Here the roles you assume may be voluntary (flute-player) or imposed upon you (grandparent); and the big question is the following.

How do these roles fit your self, your identity, your meaning in life. The point is that you are now free to choose how YOU engage with each role; i.e. your level of commitment and energy. Think about it, as you now have that luxury. Enjoy your roles to the extent that you want.

Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.