Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”
Carl Jung said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
The great thinkers and writers of every time had something to say about our true identities — about our sense of self and how we define that self.
It’s something the entire world can be preoccupied with, and it’s easy to fall into the habit of defining yourself according to worldly, temporary and sometimes false identities. You might have considered yourself a mom, a dad, a wife, a husband, an electrician or a CEO.
Perhaps you consider yourself a sewer, a knitter or a crossword puzzle enthusiast. Maybe others call you a senior citizen or an assisted living resident.
But in reality, none of these descriptions fully describe who you are. They are titles and descriptors for certain seasons and areas of your life. And yes, once you become a parent or a spouse or a nurse, your life is forever changed and that may be something you associate with yourself forever. It’s important to remember that you are more than all of that, though.
Because if you define yourself in only the terms of who you are to others, what you did for a living or even in descriptors such as “nice” or “smart,” what happens when those things aren’t true anymore? What happens when you retire and are no longer working as a nurse? What happens on days you don’t feel well and you simply aren’t nice?
Tying up your sense of self — and potentially your self-worth — in these types of labels can leave you floundering when the label doesn’t seem to fit anymore or for a moment.
If you’re an “independent senior” living a vibrant life in an
independent living community — and you take pride and value from that distinction — what happens if you fall and hurt yourself and need help for a while? What happens if you simply need assistance with a financial matter, figuring something out on the computer or moving a piece of furniture. When your identity is wrapped up in your independence, it might be harder to ask for the help you need. In some cases, people who are wrapped up in such a label might not ask at all, and they miss out on opportunities and life enjoyment they might have otherwise had.
Coming to Know Yourself in Assisted Living
One of the benefits of assisted living is that it offers some great chances for getting to know yourself anew — for growing in that wisdom that Aristotle described in the quote above.
When you make a decision to downsize from an existing home and move into an assisted living community such as The Gardens in Springfield, MO, you are making a huge life change. As you move from previous chapters of your life into this new one, you also likely change. Here are a few ways assisted living can help you get to know yourself in this new stage of life.
- New opportunities. The assisted living activities calendar has numerous options every day of the week. Now is a great time to try things you never did before to see if you might be interested in them. Don’t let previous descriptions and labels hold you back from these new opportunities — remember that all activities are optional. If you try one and don’t like it, you can choose something else tomorrow.
- New friendships. Sometimes the best way to get to know yourself better is to get to know other people. New friends who see you as an equal and fellow resident — and not as an older neighbor, grandparent or former coworker — may surprise you with how they see you. They may also open the door for new growth as you have exciting experiences together, engage in new hobbies or simply enjoy conversation, games or laughter.
- Time to rest in God. Seniors of faith may find that a faith-based assisted living community is a great place to get to know themselves better in the eyes of God. The Bible has a lot to say about who we truly are, and it rarely uses labels of the world to do so. Instead it tells us that we’re created in the image of God and that we’re part of the royal priesthood, brought into the family of God by our relationship with Christ. Bible studies, worships and the time to reflect on God’s blessings can help you remember or come to know who you really are in Christ.
At The Gardens assisted living community, we know and love all our residents. They’re all unique, vibrant people with stories to tell and plenty of talents to share. If you’re worried about being labeled an “assisted living resident” if you make a move to a community, don’t be. Assisted living residents probably aren’t who you think they are, and living in such a community can also help you realize you might not be exactly who you think either.
Posted on Thu, September 3, 2020
by Shawn Deane