Just as the transition from adolescence to young adulthood required adjusting my approach to life, so too will the adjustment into middle adulthood. While young adulthood is likely considered the physical peak of one’s life, middle adulthood is the prime of one’s life. What individuals in middle adulthood lose in mental acuity and sharpness, they have compensated for with greater knowledge and experience. My transition to middle adulthood will not be too difficult, I expect, because I have my short-term and long-term goals in order.

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Continuity theory states that people require a reasonable balance of continuity as they age through adulthood. Too little continuity leads to anxiety, while too much leads to boredom. In addition, too little continuity can lead to radical changes in one’s life, often called a mid-life crisis. I am confident that there will be just the right continuity in my life as I transition from young adulthood to middle adulthood. In fact, in many ways I think that they transition has already started as I am expected to do much more and expect much more of myself that I did when I was fresh out of high school. Perhaps development and aging should be considered more on a continuum then given broad labels such as middle adulthood. Nevertheless, I think because we can recognize typical features of middle adulthood, we can judge how similar we are to middle adulthood.

As far as the physical changes associated with the transition to middle adulthood, I think that I will do very well with them. I do not play too many sports competitively. Thus, a decrease in performance for any sport will not upset me. On the other hand, I plan to stay fairly active and remain engaged in physical activities throughout my life. Middle adulthood will not restrain me in this regard, but I will need to focus more energy on living a healthy lifestyle. Wear-and-tear theory suggests that bodies wear out with age, but a balance approached to a healthy diet and exercise will help combat some of the negative effects of aging.

I will certainly have to make a few adjustments as I enter middle adulthood, though I feel already prepared for these changes. The transition from young adulthood to middle adulthood appears to be one of the smoother transition with most of the differences being concerned with responsibility and fulfilling more of the higher end goals in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Perhaps it is only because I am approach this stage, but middle adulthood is not something that I fear, nor necessarily look forward to.

As our population ages and our average life expectancy increases, people must adjust to an increasing retirement age and plan for living longer. Late adulthood, from my current perspective, seems quite terrible. Aging will have worn my body and mind down some. But then again, during my adolescence I considered middle age to be pretty old. Perhaps as I make my way through middle adulthood I will have a better understanding, if not an appreciation, of late adulthood.

The social relationship structures that people in late adulthood have are similar to those in early adulthood. The social prime of one’s life seems to be, according to research, middle adulthood. I think that I will be able to maintain many of my current social relationship through middle adulthood into late adulthood. In addition, my friendly attitude will likely allow me to continue making friends in middle adulthood and perhaps even late adulthood. While I am confident in my abilities to maintain social relationships through middle adulthood, there is a bit of a fear that having so many friends late in life will lead to potential sadness, as it is inevitable that I will lose friends in the later stages of life. Still, I recognize that it will certainly be worth building and maintaining my social relationships.

The biggest challenges of late adulthood are likely to be caring for those around me and my own health concerns. As I age, my closest friends and family members will also be aging as well. Having to take care of them as they deal with various health concerns which are just part of aging will be very difficult. I hope that I either never reach widow status or that if I do it will be very late in life.

Another huge challenge will be handing my own frailties. I am very independent right now and would feel terribly if I had to have someone whom I love take care of me. I understand that it is just part of growing old and that there are steps that I can take to live a healthier life up to that point which will help ensure that I do not become too frail. Still, the thought of being so heavily dependent on others is very unpleasant.

Finally, another daunting challenge will be keeping my mind sharp during late adulthood. I love to think deeply and read right now. Losing the ability to do either of those would be detrimental to well-being. The prospect of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s is terrifying. If I can stay focused on my studies and my career after school, I am confident that I can remain mentally active enough to combat the negative effects on the mind of aging. Though I cannot prevent the inevitable, I can at least try to set myself up for a promising late adulthood.

This semester’s project on the different stages of development has taught me a lot about where I have been and where I am going. Beginning with the childhood phases, I look back on what has shaped my perceptions and attitudes. Additionally, I recognize how I was able to grow mentally and socially as an individual, getting through all of the awkward stages. The section on young adulthood has helped me understand where I am today. I think that I will continue to grow into middle and late adulthood with ease now that I understand the common experiences that everyone has with the late parts in life. This was a valuable experience that has helped me to understand exactly who I am and how I want to continue to grow.