The highlight of my week was being referred to as a contributor to “identity capital.” Up until then, I was not familiar with the term. It touched my heart in many ways and got me excited about the prospect of a conscious investment in ourselves. Turns out, this investment is similar to investing in a business, especially in our 20s —the defining decade of adulthood. Think of it as the contrast to the oft-used “identity crisis.” Chances are, at one point or another, you or someone you know has gone through this time of intense, uncomfortable questioning. If you are in your 20s and reading this, I hope it will inspire you. The prefrontal cortex, which coordinates higher cognitive processes and executive functioning, does not fully develop till the 20s, making that decade the last frontier to adulthood. It makes it the sweet spot for growth. The choices you make today can shift your life.
But this blog is rated G —for geriatric. Sort of. I prefer to consider it a more mature, experienced rating that deems it suitable for all ages, genders, sizes, and faiths. I see nothing wrong with investing in one’s identity capital at 80. I believe we are dynamic, evolved creations of wonder. The brain is a miraculous organ. The more we use it, the more it gives in return. Learning new skills physically rewires it. As you invest in your mature identity capital at 80, you are also most likely setting an admirable example for your grandchild in her twenties. And this can make all the difference.
Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade borrowed the term “identity capital” from sociologist Ames Côté to describe the task of becoming yourself:
“Identity capital is our collection of personal assets. It is the repertoire of individual resources that we assemble over time. These are the investments we make in ourselves, the things we do well enough, or long enough, that they become a part of who we are. Some identity capital goes on a résumé, such as degrees, jobs, test scores, and clubs. Other identity capital is more personal, such as how we speak, where we are from, how we solve problems, how we look. Identity capital is how we build ourselves—bit by bit, over time.”
According to Dr. Jay, claiming your twenties is the most transformative thing you can do for your fulfillment and prosperity. In fact, owning those years by consciously educating yourself about your body, your desires, and your choices —including everything you wish to change about yourself—most likely guarantees success. The more intentional you are in everything you choose, the more return you get. It is the gift that keeps on giving. And just as with any business consultancy models, there are tens of recommendations for tools and choices that can start one on building her identity capital. Some include spending time with “identity capital” people, attending workshops to learn about more things of interest, reading books and blogs, listening to TED talks and podcasts for inspiration, and connecting with like-minded people. Dr. Jay also suggests focusing on what she calls the “weak ties.” Weak ties include friends of friends, or distant acquaintances that will most likely introduce new prospects into one’s life from job opportunities to life partners. This means saying yes and pushing oneself slightly outside the comfort zone, and more toward those weak ties that invite new doors to present themselves.
I am still investing in my identity capital. In fact, it is this daily investment that unveils new paths. The little deposits I have made in the past three years in particular have shown me that wellness is an integral part of identity. We can only own who we truly are when we operate at our highest vibration, free to soar without the restraint of distractions and dis-ease. Our identity is whole when it is tied to our purpose. Our purpose vibrates from the soul.
Investing in our wellness is to make choices and take steps that purify the physical in order for it to align with the spiritual that is in its essence pure. Our wellness capital is part and parcel of our identity capital. It is not something to put off till “later in life,” once we get the business set up and the kids off to college. Wellness capital is an investment to make right now so we can be whole. Only when we are whole can we find our purpose. And that is the seed of who we are.
There has never been a more exciting time to grow. We have access to the latest science and support we need to make the wisest investments. If you are in your twenties, take a moment to be grateful for this and the incredible opportunity you have to thrive. I cannot wait to see what this generation is going to do to make this world a softer, kinder, happier place for all living beings.
If you are past your twenties, take a moment to be grateful for this and the incredible opportunity you have to thrive. I am so honoured to witness what you are doing to make this world a softer, kinder, happier place for all living beings. Rejoice in celebrating being a twenty-something’s identity capital, as you invest in yours.
P.S. On this International Women’s Day, I use the possessive pronoun “her” in honour of the inspiring feminine that lights up my world and yours.