An identity you can't lose

You can be glad you're you.

One morning this past winter I was shadowing a twelve-year-old snowboarder boarder down the mountain. He was a blur of color and confidence as he sped down the slope. It was hard to decide which was more fun to watch: his ability and sheer athleticism, or his complete immersion in and obvious satisfaction with the snowboarder identity—from the baseball cap worn backward to the baggy pants to the overall aura of a preteen who knows he looks cooler than all the nearby teenagers eyeing him with envy.

But what if one is no longer twelve? And what if it's not one's place on a snowboard but on a corporate board, maybe with a corner office and access to the company jet, that largely shapes one's identity? And then, poof, the job is gone. Or perhaps one has hung his or her identity not on a job but on a role like husband or wife or parent—and then unforeseen events suddenly disrupt the familiar routine. What then?

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Are we there yet?
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