Analysing the Middle Age and How It Will Affect Me

Table of Contents

When looking back at our own lives, we are constantly amazed at the transformation that takes place within us, and the events that lead us to it. we are amazed further when we compare our lives with those of our friends, and wonder how their life turned out to be so different from ours. Each of these phases represent an emotional, cognitive, mental and physical shift from one level of thought to another.

Being a 41 year old, with two children and holding a white collar job, I am very much ready to face one of the most significant changes that are said to affect this age group; the midlife crisis. Is it a crisis because there are so many things that may go out of hand at this stage, or is it a crisis because we suddenly have a shift in our priorities, our emotions and how we perceive the world? The answer is not simple, however, I would like to analyze this particular area of life which I will soon be reaching, in order to understand myself better and make changes accordingly.

Physical Development

The physical changes are perhaps the most significant and observable changes that take place in the middle age. It is perhaps the earliest signs of a change in the functional capacity and thereby the intellectual approach of an individual.
Middle age brings with a strong realization that indeed one is not as confident or strong as to carry out challenging physical tasks that were so easy for him before. Women may lose confidence in climbing the roofs or ceilings, which may psychologically make them think that they are no longer young (Whitbourne, 2001). These physical changes and their psychological reasons are best explained by Peck’s four psychosocial tasks of midlife. First and foremost component is the acceptance of the fact that the body cannot take as many challenges that it could take in the past. This means that the individual is forced into selecting activities, while foregoing others. in this manner, the individual may focus on the quality or the wisdom of taking a project more than other aspects (Lachman, 2001). There is shift from socializing versus sexualizing in human relationships, which tends to affect men to a more severe degree. Women are more likely to put value in their efforts by selecting things that have more emotional rewards or investment than less emotional enterprises (Whitbourne, 2001). This is the third concept of Peck, ‘cathetic flexibility’ versus ‘cathetic impoverishment’. Finally, the last physical and mental challenge of middle aged people lies in resisting setting their ways in a rigid pattern, and creating a more flexible approach towards different challenges (Lachman, 2001).

  • General physical characteristics/norms for this stage of development at the time of this event
  • Impact of the event on your physical development/ what was going on with you physically
  • Development compared to the norms/ theories.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is perhaps the most important aspect of growth and development as “cognition is one of the key competencies needed in young and old age to meet the challenges of education, job demands and everyday life” (Martin and Zimprich, 2005, pp 179)
A key area of concern is the type of approach one would like to take towards middle age. There are two somewhat opposing thoughts on this matter, which need to be elaborated. The first approach is that with age there is a cognitive decline, which should be identified as early as possible to prevent negative outcomes (Martin and Zimprich, 2005, pp 180). This perceived decline, no matter how subtle or small, can be enough to motivate a person in to taking up roles, courses, activities and trainings that improve the cognitive functioning. The aim to carry such initiatives differs from those of the younger age groups, since here the individual works towards self-preservation and preventions of his or her cognitive decline.
This effort may help in improving the overall quality of life of an individual, but more so, it can help the person cope with some of the most difficult roles that he or she is performing in life. at this age, family becomes one of the main concerns with most of the efforts and resources allocated to those closest to us (Martin and Zimprich, 2005). The cognitive development shifts from mere training and learning modes of the young to sensory and sensorimotor functions and their perception in middle age. There is a set individual environment that is created, which is what the person responds to.
There is however, another approach towards the middle age (Martin and Zimprich, 2005). Many psychologists believe the cognitive development in this age allows for learning of certain new skills, which would be less easier to learn in younger age groups. Studies and researches point that ages between 40 and 60 are the best time to invest in inductive reasoning, vocabulary, verbal memory, fluid intelligence abilities, and spatial orientation capabilities respectively (Martin and Zimprich, 2005). however, such individuals may show variation in the speeds or quality of development of such cognitive skills, meaning that not every individual may go through these changes (Martin and Zimprich, 2005).
Some of the key changes that may take place include structural changes or stability. Absolute changes or stability, differential change or stability, change of divergence, general versus specific change and intra-individual variability respectively (Martin and Zimprich, 2005).
Erikson compiles these changes that take place during midlife by stating that individuals develop the concept of generativist, where a person will try to expand his or her influence and commitment to family members, members of the society and to younger people (Santrok, 2006). The opposite trait that may take place in a person if he fails to develop generativity is stagnation, self-absorption, along with self-indulgence and invalidism respectively (Santrock, 2006).

  • Cognitive development for this stage of development at the time of the event
  • Two cognitive theorists/theories/ research findings: names, descriptions
  • Impact on your cognitive development then and now

Socioemotional Development

  • Social/emotional development for this stage of development at the time of the event
  • Two social/emotional theorists/theories: names, descriptions
  • Impact on your social/emotional development then and now

Summary/Conclusion

  • Summarize in detail the impact of the time period or event on your life physically, cognitively, socially emotionally
  • Which theories/theorists do you think have had the most impact on your development in reference to this time period or event? Why?

Format

  • Typed, free of spelling and grammar errors
  • Correct APA format
  • Formal presentation

References

Martin M and Zimprich D, 2005. Cognitive Development in Midlife, Chapter 6 in Middle Adulthood A Lifespan Perspective. Sage Publications, Inc.

Santrok 2006. Chapter 11, The Self, Identity and Personality in Book Life Span Development 3E. Tata McGraw Hill Education, 2006.

Whitbourne SK, 2001. The Physical Aging Process in Midlife: Interactions with Psychological and Sociocultural Factors, Chapter 4 in Handbook of Midlife Development. Editor, Lachman ME. John Wiley and Sons.

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