Are You Ready for Your Identity Disrobing?
“I think as one grows older, one is appallingly exposed to wearing life instead of living it. Habit, physical deterioration and a slower digestion of our experiences, all tend to make one look on one’s dear life as a garment, a dressing gown, a raincoat, a uniform, buttoned on with recurrent daily (tasks)...
for myself I found one remedy, and that is to undertake something difficult, something new, to re-root myself in my own true faculties…for in such moments, life is not just a thing one wears, it is a thing one does and is.” -William Maxwell
This passage from William Maxwell’s “The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner” suggests many of us aren’t just carrying too much baggage, we’re wearing too many masks or wardrobes. What if “midlife crisis” and “identity crisis” is just pop culture’s way of describing the Great Midlife Edit—how we show up in the world?
Many of our alums comment on how one of the most beautiful components of the MEA experience is how, from the very first night, they get to know each other from the inside out. Suddenly, you aren’t your resume, your balance sheet, your LinkedIn profile, or any of the identities you’ve assembled throughout life.
The Latin root of the word “vanity” is “empty,” implying that the source of vanity is void of substance and will vanish. The only vanities we have at the end of a week at MEA are those with drawers and a mirror in the bedrooms.
What would it be like for you to disrobe from a few of your identities, whether it’s being the caretaker, the joker, the boss, or the hero?