When we think of old age, we assume it is the end of life. Nevertheless, aging is shaped by the experiences we go through in our lifetime. Aging starts at a much earlier stage in life and is determined by living conditions such as occupation, social class, and education. Most 55-year-old people are in their retirement period. Many do not view this age as a destiny but as a matter of individual choices and social policies. Therefore, what I do and what social institutions do to me at this young adult age, will determine my satisfaction of life at the age of 55.
Physiological studies show that most body parts are damaged continuously and repaired as we age. This process affects our physical capabilities at old age. Processes of wear and tear, effects of free radicles, and decline of our immune system all contribute to weak physical bodies later in life. I tend to think of the same happenings at the age of 55. My body is subject to all the balance between forces of tear and those that repair. Physically, I will be weaker and slower compared to my current young adult age. In their book, Aging: Concepts and Controversies, Moody and Sasser state that the immune systems ability to fight illness declines and may even mistakenly attack the healthy cells (Moody & Sasser, 2014). The inability of the immune system to fight even the autoimmune diseases will force my body to be more vulnerable to a wide variety of illnesses. These disorders will affect the functioning and vigor of the utterly physical body.
Brain cells last as long as the body lives. As such, knowledge acquired at my earlier life will still be within me. The functionality of the brain will significantly play a role in my psychological side of my age. Self-concept, social relationships, and cognitive processes will determine my successful aging. My personality and self-esteem have to be high to be comfortable living at 55. The significant social roles that I engage in before that age are also vital in determining my self-concept. It is true that I will have to leave some social functions and participate in more activities that are individual. Psychologists Carl Jung describes this process as individuation, where one becomes genuine to self as opposed to what others require of you at middle age (Mazza, Pagano & Caramazza, 2013). As such, my social roles will be minimal. I will, therefore, resume simple functions to keep my mind active and avoid losing the common touch. However, such an age as 55 presents two different perceptions according to the cognitive theory (Schunk & Usher, 2012)). Some may perceive this era as a loss of roles and others as freedom from work situations. I want my perception to be on the latter. My mundane tasks and activities during the middle life have to aim at achieving the freedom at the age of 55. My overall psychological dimension will be defined by self-acceptance at that period, which will also come from reviewing my earlier life. The review will consist of how well I related to others, mastery of my environment, beliefs, personal growth, and development and self-determination in the course of life.
Being a religious person, my involvement in spiritual activities will now increase, as I will have more time. Moreover, researchers have proven that religious activities increase steadily from age 55 to the highest levels. Religious events provide an ideal place for socialization through faith-based groups. They also offer programs such as formal religious programs through pastoral care initiatives and social care provisions. More time is also available for volunteer activities. Religion is a means of coping with stress and a provider of a higher level of life satisfaction. Theologians have proved that aging is not a problem that calls for a solution but is an existential condition that offers a chance for a personal spiritual journey. According to the development theory of Erick Erickson, older people have a mental argument between ego integrity and despair (McLeod, 2017). Religion is a means of improving ego integrity, which is a viewpoint of self-recognition and recognizing a world that is part of positive psychological well-being.
As young adults, we are told to prepare our retirement regarding saving money. At the age of 20s, my living standards are still rising due to career advancement and continued wealth in knowledge in preparation for later life. By the age of 55, many realize that they are no longer waiting for anything to happen and the idea of advancing towards an objective fades. Such a perception will rob me the will to live. The freedom gained after retiring from work is of no use if I no longer have any goals. I think my 55 self will be full of personal economic oriented projects that will continue to fetch a good fortune not only in monetary form but also in health. With this kind of busy and usefulness, therefore, I will escape boredom and decay. The retirement money set aside in my earlier life will be a stepping-stone to start these projects.
In my early life to achieve my 55-year-old self, I will strive to advance my profession, which will not only raise my social-economic status but also increase my social roles and relationships. A happy life is one with a family and children. A family will give me a sense of advancement and a source of happiness. Planning early for my retirement will also be among my objectives as it is evident that in old age, one needs to feel free from several obligations. At my young adult age, I have several opportunities to create a life path such as career change, starting projects and businesses, traveling, and forming a social circle. Despite these life objectives, man is prone to challenges, and I am no exception. I may start a business or a project, which may not perform according to my expectations. I may also fail to travel or go on that vacation which I have dreamt of since childhood, or there will be many failed relationships and disagreements with my wife and extended family.
Erick Ericksons psychosocial development provides eight stages of social-cultural determinants of growth (McLeod, 2017). The seventh step includes generativity versus stagnation where Erick describes this scene to comprise of people in their 40s and 50s. At this age, people feel that they should contribute to meaningful things in the community. If by any chance they fail to achieve this, feelings of being unproductive members of the society engulf them. To address this challenge, I will start projects, which will not only provide employment to the people but also offer services aimed at raising peoples standards of living. Some of the difficulties faced in imagining my life at 55 are that I cannot guarantee my financial status by the time I attain 55 years due to the current uncertainty in global economic trends. Secondly, there is an inability to forecast such future occurrences and situations.
Moody, H. R., & Sasser, J. R. (2014). Aging: Concepts and controversies. 8th Ed. SAGE Publications Pg, 29-133.
Mazza, V., Pagano, S., & Caramazza, A. (2013). Multiple object individuation and exact enumeration. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(5), 697-705.
McLeod, S. (2017). Developmental Psychology: Erick Erikson: Simply Psychology
Schunk, D. H., & Usher, E. L. (2012). Social Cognitive Theory and. APA educational psychology Handbook, 1.
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