The Stages of Life
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The Stages of Life

No matter what age you are, we all fall into a certain category of age

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The Stages of Life
Marie Humphrey

I recently did a project in my psychology class where I had to interview 3 different people of 3 different age groups and compare their answers and how they differ. I really liked this assignment because I got really great answers from all the people I asked, so I figured I would share more in depth about how fascinating what each person is working towards in each stage in their life. The questions I asked were:

a.What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?

b.What makes you happiest in your life?

c.Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

The people I will be asked the questions to were my best friend (adolescent), my mother (middle adulthood), and my grandmother (late adulthood). I picked these specific people because they are very insightful. I look to these people and trust these people and I believe their answers will not be typical and that they will be very different and diverse from one another.

I picked my best friend because we are very alike in our journeys. We tend to meditate more on the deeper things in life rather than the simple things, and that’s why I thought her answers would be more interesting to analyze. So, when I asked her the first question, “what is you biggest accomplishment thus far?’ she replied, “My biggest accomplishment thus far in life has probably been finding my inner balance. Learning not to source my peace or joy from other people and to learn how to find it within myself.” The next question is ‘what makes you happiest in your life?’ to which she replied, “What makes me happiest is being able to pour into and invest myself into other people and really just seeing other people find that contentment in life.” Next question, ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ “I don’t know exactly where I see myself in ten years, but I hope that I’ve found myself and have found my husband.” She may sound very zen and meditative, however, she doesn’t have her life together in the least bit. We all don't. Her mother died when she was seven of cancer, and had to do a lot of growing up on her own. It was really hard on her, however she did not grow up at a faster or slower pace than anyone else. She just learned more about adult things at an earlier age. Chloe is definitely in the correct stage of her life and corresponding age; adolescence. She even said it herself when pondering on where she would be in 10 years, ‘but I hope that I’ve found myself and have found my husband.’ She’s still trying to figure out who she is like most adolescent kids are. We have no idea.

I asked my mother the same questions but probably asked them at the wrong time for she was making Mexican corn bread and was in the zone. However she did answer them. ‘What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?’ to which she replied, “Raising my daughter.” Thanks mom. The second question, ‘what makes you happiest in your life?’ she said, “Being with my family and just sharing our lives and our experiences throughout the day, family suppers, that kind of thing.” The last question, ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ she replied, “I see myself retired and happy and traveling a lot and going to different places on my bucket list.” I don’t think my mom’s responses could get any more riveting, therefore putting her in the exact stage she needs to be; middle adulthood. “Emotional balance in middle adulthood is expressed by caring about oneself, one’s children, and future generations.” Since my mother considers her greatest accomplishment ever to be raising me, I think she fits the description of “interest in guiding the next generation,” which would be me of course, perfectly.

The next person I chose to ask these series of questions to is my grandmother. My grandmother is my absolute hero, I’m not just saying that either, I’ve written many essay prompts about her. She’s wise, insightful, five foot nothing, and fiery as ever. So when I asked her what her biggest accomplishment in life was at this point she replied, “Raising two beautiful daughters (my aunt and my mom) and getting three beautiful grandchildren from them.” I then asked her what makes her happiest in her life, she said, “Lord, I don’t know. Just everything I guess, seeing my grandbabies growing up and going to church and just everything. I’m so happy.” Good answer, Mimi. The last question I asked her, ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years’, she replied, “Well if the good Lord is willing, I’ll still be up here on Fort Hill and if not then I’ll be skipping through the glory land.” I think my grandmother fits the appropriate stage in Erikson’s theory which is integrity vs. despair, and it’s pretty obvious that my grandmother is on the integrity side. “People who have lived richly and responsibly develop a sense of integrity, or self-respect. This allows them to face aging and death with dignity.” My grandmother could care less if she died today or 100 years from now because she knows she lived her life to the fullest and accomplished everything she wanted to.

All of these stages differ in so many ways, but are always focused on what’s ahead. For instance, my best friend is mainly focused on getting through school and getting married like most young adolescent kids are, and my mom is focused on retirement and fulfilling her dreams so when she reaches the late adulthood stage in her life, like my grandmother, she can have integrity instead of despair. Each one, and each goal at the end of your life stage could completely altar and determine how you feel about your life in the end. I think it’s so fascinating that each stage has a specific purpose and most people who fit into that stage are working towards the same thing only in a different way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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