Identity intrigues me. How are identities formed? How much is innate? How much is nurture? How much is beyond these terms?
Identity is on my mind today because I met a man for the first time who is the son of one of my oldest male friends. He had contacted me a couple of years ago when he first learned his actual last name. He began researching on the Internet and discovered I had written an article about his father, a well-respected Canadian artist. He had never met the man. He had never seen his picture. All he had was information his mother passed on, in addition to my lifetime experience as one of his father’s closest friends. We had met in the fourth grade, and during a spin-the-bottle game at a party, we each for the first time kissed someone of the opposite sex.
What amazed me during our meeting today is not just the physical resemblance of the son to his father, but he had a beard as his father did. Then his facial expressions and gestures made me feel at times as if I were in his dad’s presence. But he also shares his father’s love of the wilderness—both are mountain men types, able to spend lots of time alone in that environment. None of this was learned. It appears to have been inherent.
It makes me wonder just what role destiny plays in our personality development. Are there some things we can’t avoid in our personal evolutions in terms of the person we turn out to be?