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mattbrowne's avatar

What are the stages of successful aging?

Asked by mattbrowne (31463 points ) March 19th, 2012

Inspired by George E. Vaillant’s book “Aging Well”. He defines the following stages of adulthood: identity, intimacy, career consolidation, generativity, keeper of the meaning, and integrity.

“Failure to successfully work through the identity stage causes difficulties with intimacy and career consolidation. Vaillant describes the identity stage as the development of a sense of self-knowing one’s values, politics, and passions. Generativity reflects the capacity to give the self – finally completed through mastery of the first three tasks of adult development – away, welcoming the building of community. With generativity comes awareness that we are part of a social network of individuals in which we act for the benefit of the group. The focus of a keeper of meaning is on conservation and preservation of the collective products of mankind – the culture in which one lives and its institutions – rather than on just the development of its children. The stage of integrity has less to do with making a difference in the world, and more to do with finding inner peace with all the experiences of life and the world.”

What stages have you observed?

My second question: Does Fluther thrive because of questions related to identity, intimacy, career consolidation, generativity, keeper of the meaning, and integrity?

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9 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I was born, I lived, and then I will die. We all face this reality as each day passes and we slowly head toward our last days.

Aging well? This has been a topic for my wife and I, since we turned 60. I think we are pretty much following the plan of life. Neither one of us wants to give up our youth, so daily, we fight the wrinkles with various lotions.

We both have found our inner peace and have accepted the integrity that life has dealt us.

It’s the formula of life and how each person perceives the stages of their older year, that holds the key..

I think you are correct, concerning Fluther.

It’s not a computer that makes Fluther what it is….....it’s the people.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Death at an advanced age is the best indication of healthy and successful aging. It means that the person has made it through and survived the challenges of the aging process.

Cruiser's avatar

The billion dollar a year business in supplements, hair dyes and wrinkle creams is proof enough many people do not take this aging process lying down. Oooops can’t leave out cosmetic surgeries!

rojo's avatar

Don’t know, I am still in the denial stage.

Sunny2's avatar

Been through all of them, but I still feel and act much younger than that. Or maybe, if you’re lucky, you can get though them all early and just enjoy life. Maybe that’s what I’m doing: having fun as long as I’m able, and making peace with the fact that I’m not always able.

wundayatta's avatar

I reject formulaic patterns of meaning-making in life. I can make my own meaning all by myself, thank you very much. I am also much more interested in witnessing other people’s stories than in hearing some synthesist tell me what it’s supposed to be like.

There is no such thing as “successful” aging. There is no pattern everyone is supposed to follow. Aging is a unique process for everyone. Success is measured according to each individual’s unique standards.

For me, it is keeping my body functioning as well as I can without pain for as long as possible. It is finding ways to keep on pretending my mind works even though it feels fuzzy and slow and I can’t remember shit any more. Hint: partaking of online fora helps, since no one can tell how slow I am in asynchronous communication. I get to look up the words I forget, as well.

Aging well means holding on to my capabilities as long as I can and when they are gone, not beating myself up for not having them any more. It means being useful as I can be. It means trying to maintain love—although that has been the case all my life, apart from when I needed to find it in the first place.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t believe in stages. I think people who are satisfied with their own looks and aware of their own feelings will be successful at every age. For me, getting older has progressed in a zig-zag rather than stages.

rooeytoo's avatar

I’m too busy living my life to sit around analyzing the stages. I can still sit up and take nourishment so I guess I’m not too bad off yet. Those stages reek of psycho-babble to me. I like Nike’s words better, Just Do It, and then I add my own, until you can’t do it anymore.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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