24, 33, and Identity

4 min readJan 8, 2024

There are no magic numbers in this blog post. 24 comes from the year, 33 comes from my age, and the title is the title comes from an intention to start. Now that you’re here though….

I am turning 33 years old this year, and already considering what my thirties mean to me, and who I am. To get there, I started back to the basics: how do we define ourselves and who do we aspire to be.

Identity & Chosen Teachers

Identity is an inherent component of ourselves that informs how we view our world, our social circles, our relationships, our activities, and our intentions towards growth. Identity is a well-studied concept through many social sciences, and an influential component of biology and contributes to the environment that together with your genes determines various aspects of health.

Who do we find attractive online to read or follow when we seek out education? People we follow, listen to, and seek out to inform our own lives are relatable and accessible.

We seek social belonging, self-validation, and a recognition that people we perceive with similar circumstances who are successful can show us a similar trajectory.

Look-Alike Mentors

Mentoring is most effective with people who we perceive as similar to ourselves, aka role models. This has been supported by a wide variety of literature and repeated in so many aspects of everyday life that it is a socially acceptable norm to seek out people that “look like us”. Research stemming from the 1960s with Kohlberg and 50s with Erik Erikson provide foundational exploration within developmental psychology on how we seek to develop ourselves. While it is difficult to prove how one exactly forms self-identity — theories confluence influences from core values, social circles, and activities. Adams & Marshall posited it’s both and exploration consists of a continuity on how we view ourselves as well as how others perceive us. Role models at work may also be most effective when they are clearly relatable Weinberg, 2019.

Measuring Self-Identity

I think when the average American starts to reflect on identity, they would consider the most visible factors first: age, gender, and race for example. Those aspects of personal identity that often fall into the same terminology that defines “identity politics”. These labels can often comprise an aspect of our identity, and sometimes we use them to imply other aspects of our identity like personality, cultural values, or habits, empathy with a particular group or cause.

In 2002, Cheek, Smith & Tropp published a fourth version of their questionnaire on the aspects of identity (AIQ-IV) (1), which had evolved from the original 1982 version (2). You can take it here. The focus of Cheek & Cheek’s tetrapartite model of identity from 2018 consists of:

  1. Personal Identity (you uniquely attribute to self)
  2. Relational Identity (interpersonal/relationships)
  3. Social Identity (matter in a public setting)
  4. Collective Identity (matter to an affiliated group)

I scored on the scale: personal first (76%), relational second (74%), social third (70%) and collective last (48%).

So Who Am I

To consider who I am, I feel strongly about considering my core values.

According to Psychology Today’s Values Profile: My top core, work, and personal value is “Theoretical Values” meaning I like to be intellectually challenged, to research and be creative in idea-solutioning and thinking logically. I like to make sense of the abstract, innovate and explore. Next, my social values: empathy and altruism. While I seek belong with family & friends, I don’t socialize as a means to an end.

Psychology Today’s Values Profile results

According to Strengthsfinder, I have become a stronger learner since leaving grad school, more analytical while still placing high value on relationship building.

According to 16Personalities, I have shifted from previous years as a Mediator (INFP) to an Advocate (INFJ-T). As an INFJ-T, I am insightful, principled, passionate and altruistic, but I am also prone to burnout, sensitive to criticism, and hate doing the ordinary.

16 Personalities 2024 result.

Across these different views there’s a common theme:

I’m a researcher — I care about finding a more centered source of truth, a logical pathway, and creatively problem-solving. I seek information to organize, archive, and draw conclusions from.

I care about people — I have high empathy, I appreciate the uniquity of every individual and I will go to great lengths to help others, even if its at the expense of myself and my energy.

Despite the additional scopes that have influenced my current identity, these two aspects of my identity have been true for a long time.

In my next blog post I’ll explore health, and where the various aspects of my health fit in 2023, and what habits I’m building for 2024.

Unlinked References

  1. Cheek, J. M., Smith, S.M., & Tropp, L. R. (2002, February). Relational identity orientation: A fourth scale for the AIQ. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Savannah, GA.
  2. Cheek, J. M., & Briggs, S. R. (1982). Self-consciousness and aspects of identity. Journal of Research in Personality, 16, 401–408.)




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