Personal Perspective on Changes That Occur Throughout Essay

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Personal Perspective on Changes That Occur Throughout Early, Middle, And Late Adulthood

One of the more interesting things about aging is just how differently people go about the process. In my experience, many people seem to grow older and change very little from their early to late adulthoods as a result, keeping the same interests, friends, spouse, home and job for years and years. For instance, I know one elderly widower, "Mark," who has conducted petroleum engineering seminars in several states nine months a year for more than 30 years. Besides some minor administrative work and continuing education, Mark has the rest of the year to himself and he participates in a number of leisure and recreational activities, some of which he takes seriously. For instance, Mark is still an accomplished ballroom dancer despite his somewhat advanced age (73 years), and he has played tournament bridge games in Las Vegas with the same people every year for almost 35 years now. When I saw him last, Mark told me he intends to keep up his current schedule for as long as he is physically and mentally able to travel, dance and play and from his looks, this will likely be for a long time. Mark remains on excellent terms with his family and is a real ladies' man. By and large, Mark appears enormously satisfied with his present life and while he keeps abreast of changes in his profession that affect his seminars, he enjoys life to its fullest and is not actively seeking any substantive changes in his day-to-day living arrangements.

A developmental theorist would likely conclude that Mark is fully self-actualized, but in other cases, though, people seem to go through a series of major changes in their lives, seemingly jumping from one career to another in a desperate but largely unfulfilled attempt to achieve personal satisfaction and better earnings irrespective of early, middle or late adulthood. These kinds of people appear to experience significant changes in their personalities over time as well, and may even go through several personal crises before they find what they want in life -- if they ever do. In this regard, my friend's father quit a well-paying position in a major American city as a highly skilled machinist. This individual, "John," tells me that when he was younger, he became fed up with life in the big city so he purchased 100 acres on what is known locally as "Moonhull Mountain" in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, found a lower-paying job in a local town, and built a log cabin for his family with his own hands. I actually visited John and his family after they had finished their cabin to check on their progress a few years ago, and the last thing I remember was, astonishingly, John building his own full-size bulldozer out of a pickup truck so he could carve out a better road down the mountain despite his approaching 50 years old. John's sights were clearly still on the future, but he had found his niche for his late adult life on Moonhull Mountain that he was lacking in the big city.

Another interesting aspect of the aging process is how some people tend to change their…

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