Dan that was a well written summery of life.I think that we all have many voices but many tune out the other voices. I THINK that what happens is that as we grow up we go through many stages of life and each stage requires a specific set of mental abilities and a different psychology to best adapt to that environment. When I was a child I had childish things and a childish mind. As I grew up I put up many...maybe even most of my childish things. The child part of my mind likes to play and makes decisions based on immediate gratification. If I feared something I ran from it and if I was hurt I cried.
As I grew older there were things in my life that I didn't want to do but had to do them. There were fears that I had to face and hurts that I had to learn to endure stoically. It is not acceptable for males of my generation to cry over insignificant things. It is seen as a sign of weakness. I had to learn to stand up for myself and not be dependent on the protection of others for my security. I learned to fight even when there was little hope of winning. Losing a fight is not really losing if you foe walks away thinking "I don't want to do that again!". During this time you have to push the child into the background.
And THEN the hormones happen!!! that creates an entirely new set of imperatives. You will make decisions about who you want the world to see that may not be who you actually are. At this point, you make push the second personality into the background to become the person that you think is going to be more attractive to the opposite sex or to whoever you wish to be attractive.
The next stage is learning to become one part of a couple. If you were successful in the previous stage you have found an bonded with a partner. And SUDDENLY many if not most of the strategies that you an implemented to attract and find that partner may become untenable in a marriage. The macho duck guy is not so much fun when you have to live with it guys. The sweet ever-supportive partner is not going to enjoy that game forever and you each will need to adjust to the needs of being a couple instead of two individuals.
Guess what? When you have a boy bird living with a lady bird there are likely to be baby birds on the way. Now you once again have to put together a new persona. You are teaching a young person how to be a real person and this is best done by example. HOLY COW!! I start hearing my Dad's voice and words coming out of my mouth!! You have to split your attention and face the fact that your partner has to do the same things. You twist your entire life around those kids...
And they grow up leave and take a piece of your heart with them. Suddenly you are alone in the house with this other person. They need to return to being a couple but they are very different people from the two younger people that first made this adaptation so this is often a very different relationship. Maturity is important but it can be awfully boring. A new you slowly forms.
Late middle age is tough. You look at your self and realize that you are not as young as you were. How you react to this varies from person to person. Dealing with the facts of your new reality is going to make changes in you whether you want those changes or not. Sliding into old age doesn't have to be a miserable experience but for many it is.
Grandbabies!!! This is going to change you. My grandbaby has brought back so much of my child. We play together and parts that I thought were lost were actually just looking for a playmate!!
The end-stage. Slowly your abilities fade away. Many of the things that you used to love to do are just to hard on you for you to enjoy. You have a choice to make. You can allow this to make you into a grumpy old person or you can find new things and become a happy person and accept that your mortality is real and that you are not going to live forever. You don't care as much about what other people think. This can actually be sort of liberating. The person that you have hidden through so many changes may finally be free.
Just because you moved on from these personas doesn't mean that they no longer exist. They are all still with you like the clothes that you have in the very back of your closet. With a little effort, you can let them out to play. With practice, you can merge them without destroying them. The child will always want to play and make decisions based on NOW. That isn't bad. Sometimes in life it is nice to set the adult aside and have a little fun. There are times when you want something that you clearly can hear that child whispering in your ear or even at times yelling "GO for it!!" The liberal teenager that hasn't yet had to deal with the harsh realities of working and paying bills will always see a different world than the older person with bills, the child needing braces, and the car needing work. They are not always silent.
To be happy in life you have to be all of these people each in their time but you also need to let them out because they are a part of who you are now and if you don't let them have their say sometimes you will always feel like something is missing from your life. Because of various environmental issues I went through more changes than most. I was an old man when I was a child. I faced demons that others never see and I both died and was reborn as a different person. While I have kept my various stages separated, I also have not put them away and try to let them out each in their own time and way. It works for me and I am happy.