Provided by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
"Making life better"
What a drag it is getting old... I think it was the Beatles who said that, and they were right as far as physical development goes. Even worse is the fact that it is all downhill from here, physiologically speaking. This gradual decline in physical ability has been going on for a while, but it starts to become noticeable for most people by around their forties or so... MIDDLE AGE.
As people age, they must adjust to the increasing disability of their own bodies. As Hillyer (1993) has pointed out in Feminism and disability, when a woman can no longer trust her eyesight or coordination enough to get up on a ladder and fix a leak in the ceiling, for example, it affects her concept of herself as a strong, independent woman. And so begins a trend toward increasing dependence on othersÖ..
For those who have more income, this increasing dependency may not be so obvious, as they simply pay others to, e.g., repair the roof. However, there is some small change in a womanís (or manís) self-concept when she comes to realize that she no longer CAN do such things herself. This is a whole different ballgame from not having time, or choosing not to because you donít like the dead, yucky leaves up there.
Look at the table in your text on chronic health conditions (Table 15-1). Compared to when you were an adolescent, you are three times as likely at age 45 to have chronic sinus problems, thirteen times as likely to have arthritis or high blood pressure, seven times as likely to have an orthopedic impairment. Visual impairment is five times as common, hearing impairment is almost nine times as prevalent.
This does not mean that one's self-esteem is necessarily reduced. One may simply change one's values and decide that physical ability is overrated. The point is, SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL ADJUSTMENT IS NECESSARY. Which brings us to the first of -----
Robert Peck's four psychosocial tasks of mid-life
It's not all bad news, though. on the positive side, middle adulthood is a period consideraby less stressful than early adulthood or adolescence. Two reasons this are so are EXPERIENCE and STATUS which comes with increasing age. By middle age, we often have less anxiety because we are able, through our experience, to anticipate the likely outcomes of situations, are more sure of own goals and abilities.
Let's talk a little about experience. One major
cause of anxiety and stress is uncertainty, not knowing a probable outcome,
not knowing what to do. If you have never traveled on business, interviewed
for a job or bought a home before, it can be a very stressful experience.
For example, I often travel to conferences to give presentations, sometimes
accompanied by students who are presenting for the first time. Because
I have done this many times, I can call the travel agent, who already has
all of the information in her computer, and tell her what day and time
I need to leave and arrive, and also have her make hotel and car arrangements.
The students, on the other hand, have to find a travel agent, since they
don't have one, provide her all of the information. Or, they may not even
think to call a travel agency and make all of the arrangements themselves,
because they think an agency is too expensive. (Of course, travel agents
are free, they make their money on commissions from the airlines and hotels).
I bring copies of any transparencies I might need and extra copies of handouts
just in case the overhead breaks. If I need copies made, I know that most
hotels have a business center where this can be done, for a fee, and, if
the business center is not open, most large cities have chains such as
Kinko's or Staples which are open 24 hours. I once saw some students trying
frantically to get a cab to some copy center in Washington, DC to make
copies of their papers a few hours before a meeting. I took the papers
from them and politely asked the clerk at the front desk if she could make
20 copies for me and charge it to my room, which she did. The students
stood their with their mouths open, and one finally said, "I did not know
you could do that."
Middle age is when most of us achieve the highest status in our professions. Because you have proven yourself, as a middle adult you are able to have more choice over your work tasks, hours and conditions. You receive more money, have more vacation time and other fringe benefits because you have earned it. Remember the earlier web page on the types of first jobs most young adults have? These tend to be limited in authority and creativity, in contrast to the type of positions which are occupied by people in middle age.
What about people who are still stuck in a dead-end, low-paying job at age 55? Chances are, THEY are not too happy. Income is related to life satisfaction at the lower end, that is, people who are living in poverty are more depressed than people who are not. However, there is not much relationship overall. In other words, the president of a university is not necessarily any happier than a professor there, but they are both likely to be happier than the janitor who comes in and waxes their office floors each night.
Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. -- P.O.Box 663, 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335 Tel: (701) 351-2175 Fax: (800) 905 -2571
Email us at: Info@SpiritLakeConsulting.com
An Indian-owned business