It used to be that people lived by the adage that you should put your best foot forward and live the best life you can, each and every day.
Live life with integrity, be honest and work hard and you will go far. Parents would teach their children that your reputation is all you have so protect it with your life. You can’t go back and change things, you can only move forward and try to do things better. In this ever changing world we live in, even this time honored advice has gotten old. Instead, many people are finding that when they don’t live life with integrity, when they aren’t honest and they wind up in financial trouble, or trouble with the law, or caught up with a bad crowd, there may not be a way to go back and fix it, but there is certainly a way to erase it and start over.
With 80% of adult Americans in debt, many feel that there is nothing they can do to escape. Many need so badly to get away from incessant calls from debt collectors that they turn to very drastic measures such as identity change. It has come to that. Some Americans would rather erase who they were and begin building a new life with a new name in a new place. It isn’t always the best solution, but sometimes you have no choice. America is a great place, a land of opportunities; you can be whoever you want.
Escaping debt is not the only reason why Americans will rush to the courthouse to get a new identity. Many young people today will follow the trend and jump on the bandwagon to escape their cyber past.
More than 40% of Americans are on Facebook and they exhibit every aspect of their lives online for the world to see, recording every thought (good or bad) and displaying it for the world to view. If it’s on the internet, it’s extremely difficult to remove it or erase it or bury it. Even if you delete it, traces remain and reputations can and are ruined everyday online.
You must be aware of embarrassing photos that “friends” might post online. A perfect case in point can be made when referring to the nude photos of Prince Harry that surfaced not too long ago. Comments that you share online about a controversial topic can resurface when you are job hunting ten years from now. When you put information on the Internet, you instantly lose it. There is no expectation of privacy. Your life is picked up and stored on several different networks and you will never be able to get rid of something completely. That is why we have seen a growing trend of young people who want to start over, they move across the country and reinvent themselves. They create new identities and new lives as they begin to grow from a young partier into a young professional.
It used to be difficult for people who wanted an identity change because they would start with no previous employment history. Now that the job markets are rapidly changing, and the job market is in decline, Americans are no longer in industries where you would become a lifer, someone who starts as an entry level employee and works their way up the ranks over a few decades. It is more common now for people to stay with companies only a few years and then move on, either due to the company’s choice to downsize or the person’s thought that the grass is greener somewhere else. People have become drifters and this makes someone with a new identity and little previous experience fit right in when applying for the low paying jobs that so many tend to seek out these days.
True, for some people, the need to change identity is fierce and the only choice. But for others, it becomes their choice only after a long line of terrible decisions and even worse behavior. Still, changing your identity is a valid and real way to erase the past. It will never right wrongs that you have done, but it will help protect you and your loved ones in certain situations. And it will certainly afford you a way to rebuild your life.
But at what cost? Maybe it’s time to listen to our parents and work harder to do it right the first time.