Tag Archives: Identity

My Place in the World: A short meditation on identity and happiness


The main purpose of this article is to explore an individual’s identity and role within their society. Birkbeck students continue to define and redefine their role in society. We often define ourselves against or in accordance to our ancestry. Some students may say something like, “Although my ancestors were ethnically Russian and Catholic, I am a British atheist because I choose to be, regardless of my ethnicity and ancestry.”

Does ethnicity determine our characters or are there other contributing factors? Ethnicity, the environment we live in and the choices we make are all factors that form our character and personality.

On this topic, I spoke to a woman who lives in Turkey when she visited London this April to attend the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race. She is the daughter of a family friend.


The people I refer to as “My parents” are the people that have raised me since the time of my infancy.

Of whom I was before my adoption, I remain in the dark, exempting that I am ethnically of Egyptian origin.

The identity of the people who created my entry into this world remains unknown to me to this day. If I ever had memories of them, they have long gone from my mind.

It is immaterial to me that my adopted parents were born into practising Catholic families. They consider themselves Turkish secularists, and I consider myself Turkish secularist. Why should it matter to me if my ancestors were taught to say Happy Christmas, or Diwali, or Hanukkah, but my parents were not?

I have always believed that culture is an adjustable feature. We are who we choose to be regardless of our lineage.

Do I feel that an unfilled void exists within my heart due to the absence of my biological family in my life? No. I do not. Still, I have often thought about them and wondered how life would have turned out for me if I had grown up with them.

Do I have just cause to regret the way life turned out for me? No. I am aware that I have never wanted for anything and that is nothing to regret.

The parents I know and love best in this world watched me develop from infancy to adulthood, held and I hushed me as I have wept, and shared in my triumphs. Their love for me has been and continues to be unrestrained and constant. Additionally, I am privileged to have had so many friends with outstanding qualities like loyalty and Bravery. The love and respect I have for these individuals is what gives me the courage to persevere in my quest to achieve happiness and success.

If I searched the whole world, I know I would never be able to find a better life than the one I have now.

Someday I hope to have the opportunity to give a child the love and stability I was given. And I hope they have the freedom to identify as they wish, regardless of my beliefs, our culture, or ethnicity.