ERIC Number: ED326654
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Successful and Unsuccessful Aging: What Makes the Difference?
Hardin, Paula Payne
Although aging is a process that affects everyone, individuals can choose how they will behave as they become older. Some persons choose to focus on the negative, becoming more and more self-centered and driving away those around them, becoming a burden to themselves and to society. Others, often prompted by a midlife crisis or period of introspection, choose to age more generously, focusing on the wider world and life outside themselves and their families. This perspective, called by some philosophers "generativity," is a journey of caring that paves the way to a rewarding second half of life. Generativity helps those who embrace it to avoid the pitfalls of the other road that leads to self-absorption and stagnation. A large national survey and other studies resulted in a list of qualities of generative people: a generous view of others, a giving attitude, a positive relationship with nature, undergoing a process of personal integration, experience of a pivotal event that led to transition or rebirth, simplified lives, and hopefulness. Qualities of those who are self-absorbed and are aging unsuccessfully include the following: a tendency to blame others for problems, a tendency to alienate others, moodiness, rigid opinions, fears associated with money, obsession with life's inequities, and lack of intimate friends. Midlife people need to make a conscious effort to choose the positive behaviors that will lead to a generative old age. (KC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (Salt Lake City, UT, October 28-November 3, 1990).