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Who am I? It depends on when you ask!

Who am I? It depends on when you ask!


L.T. Force, Ph.D.


There is a basic question in the field, practice and study of Aging and Gerontology. The question is: “Do people change or do they remain the same as they age?” The answer is: “We do both! There are changes that occur across the lifespan (we are not the same person as we were in 3rd grade)….things are different….we act differently….however, there are also: foundational personality traits/structures that weave us together…. and integrate us as one….that have remained the same across our lifespan”.

I have a friend, who on multiple occasions across time has said to me: “I met someone who said they know you”. My initial thought that comes to mind is: “Which one of “me” do they know? Do they know the “me” when I am truly focused on my life, exhibiting strong passions, interests, determination and dedications or do they know the “me” when I am consumed by distractions and patterns of behavior that are not-moored to a focused, goal oriented or purpose-driven life?” Because, across my lifespan, just like for all of us - we have been: “different people” based upon situations, roles and circumstances….we all have “multiple-selves”. Yes, the underlying personality constructs and personal values have remained the same - where circumstances, situations and ‘lived-experiences’ have: “ignited and guided "me" with a sense of purpose, meaning and determination….and at other times, I have been: consumed with behaviors, thoughts and actions that have distracted and absorbed "me" from living a purpose-driven life".

Upon reflection, the message is clear: When you say someone knows me - my answer is: “which one of “me” do you know….because we all have been different people across the lifespan. Like the picture/image above - there are different hues, shadows and images exhibited....very different in their own right....however, together they create one image - one composite....just like "us" across the lifespan.

Welcome to adulthood....the 'Land of multiple-selves'….It’s part of the ‘human condition!'"


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