This stage of adulthood presents many opportunities to make good choices and bad choices for yourself. 1.What are some behaviors or choices you repeatedly make that you might need to improve? These may include habits, negative perceptions, unmanaged stress, or other health-related behaviors. How might these behaviors be obstacles to laterlife success? 2. Make a list of “good behaviors” and “bad behaviors” you displayed in your REAL life before college. Do you believe these behaviors can later map onto “Good outcomes” and “bad outcomes”? How or why? 3. What are some good decisions you can make in your life now that you hope will continue to lead you to good outcomes down the road? Think about physical health, money management, decisions, emotional well-being, relationships and social behaviors, and even identity choices and personal values that would play a role in later stages of your development. 4. What parts of development do you predict might stay the same as you move into and through your adulthood years? What might influence this stability as you mature? 5. Think of some aspects of personality and development that might change as you grow older. Do you expect that nature/genetics or nurture/experience has more influence on your personality and development over time? How would you know whether nature or nurture is responsible for a change? 6. What are some reasons why individuals might choose to NOT raise children in their lifetime? These may include personal reasons and/or medical reasons. If you were deciding whether or not to have children, what sorts of variables within your control would you take into consideration? 7. Imagine you sit down to dinner with your long-time friend and she tells you she is having jealousy issues in her marriage. Her husband, whom you get along with, is upset that she has gotten to be too close with a male coworker, and he is interpreting their friendly banter as flirting. What advice might you give to your friend to help her alleviate the situation? 8. Do you see yourself as the kind of person who will stay in the same type of job for a long time, perhaps into retirement, or as more of a job hopper in order to climb the professional ladder? Explain why you see yourself this way and what factors would influence your decision. 9. What are some actions that you, or someone you know, could take to create a healthy, successful marriage? 10. Consider the timing of when people have children. For those who have children during Adolescence or Emerging Adulthood, how might their life outcomes differ from those who have children during Young Adulthood or even Middle Adulthood? If you could choose the age at which you have children, which age would you choose, and what sorts of variables within your control would you take into consideration? 11. What kinds of stress responses do you tend to display in your real life? Make a list of some of your adaptive stress responses and consider how these serve as measures of resiliency. What are some maladaptive stress responses you’ve noticed about yourself or others? How might these responses contribute to even more stressful experiences? 12. Based on class discussions, describe what circumstances you think leads an individual to a midlife crisis. What type of theory best explains this experience? 13. Overall, divorce rates have declined in the last 20 years, but among middle-aged couples, the rates are rising. Do an internet search to find what current statistics are available for different groups of individuals, then describe three factors that contribute to contemporary rises in middle-aged divorce rates. 14. Describe advantages and disadvantages of experiencing divorce in midlife. You might consider factors such as income, identity, mutual friends, investments, children and other family members, and the fact that dividing households later in a marriage will require divvying up items bought as a couple. How might divorce during young adulthood or late adulthood be different in terms of such factors? How might separation be different for long-term relationships where partners have been together but not married? 15. Based upon the theory and research about mid-life crises discussed in your textbook and class, how might you explain a 40-something-year-old family member’s sudden change towards unpredictable behaviors and emotionality? 16. How might some unique aspects of your cohort or generation have shaped your views of gender, sexual orientation, political viewpoints, or other categories of individual differences? 17. Long-term health effects are something to consider at nearly every age. What are some behaviors or choices a person could make during midlife that could be obstacles to laterlife success? These may include habits, negative perceptions, unmanaged stress, or other health-related behaviors. 18. How does your tolerance of people who are different from you compare to that of people in your parents’ generation? Is there a difference at all in your own family? Qualify your answer with examples and discuss why you believe differences, if any, exist. 19. How well do you think you would cope with balancing the needs of two generations of family members in the same home if both generations were living in YOUR home? As you manage and focus on your own relationship needs, as well as work responsibilities, bills, life goals and plans how do you think you’d cope with having others living in your home who may have their own (different) needs or plans? Explain why you would or would not cope well. 20. Describe how your job(s) can shape your perceptions and assessments of your overall life satisfaction. Would the age at which you conduct a life review have any influence on how you rate your overall satisfaction? Why or why not? 21. How do you think your work history will play into your transition into and through retirement, as you forecast into the later adulthood years? Consider financial factors, such as social security, retirement-savings planning, and whether to stay employed part-time, in your response. 22. What do you think might lead some people to experience a full-on midlife crisis, while others experience a mild crisis or simply a strong need to change just one thing to accomplish a work or life goal? 23. Current national trends indicate that more middle-aged adults are caring for others than ever before. “Others” often include boomerang children, or children who move back in to their parents’ home. What are some likely reasons for increases in parents having boomerang children? 24. Imagine that several of your peers changed companies at the same time that you were considering a change into a new career. They cited a number of reasons for making career changes in midlife, including the following: there was little challenge at their current job; the challenges became routine; their jobs changed in ways they do not like; they lost their current jobs, so they are switching careers all together; they were asked to do more with fewer resources; technological advances rendered their jobs no longer enjoyable; they were unhappy with their status and wanted a fresh start; they feel burned out; this is the last time they can make a meaningful change towards more job satisfaction before running out of time. Which of these reasons would compel YOU to change jobs in midlife? Describe your thoughts for each answer you select. 25. Imagine that several of your peers changed companies at the same time that you were considering a change into a new career. They cited a number of reasons for making career changes in midlife, including the following: there was little challenge at their current job; the challenges became routine; their jobs changed in ways they do not like; they lost their current jobs, so they are switching careers all together; they were asked to do more with fewer resources; technological advances rendered their jobs no longer enjoyable; they were unhappy with their status and wanted a fresh start; they feel burned out; this is the last time they can make a meaningful change towards more job satisfaction before running out of time. Which of these reasons would compel YOU to change jobs in midlife? Describe your thoughts for each answer you select. 26. How do you see your midlife years leading you to successful (or unsuccessful) aging in the near future? 27. Regardless of whether you are a parent or step-parent in your virtual life that you are leading, why do you think many parents report difficulties in maintaining or increasing intimacy with their adult children? In your answer, consider that for some parents their children often provide a perceived source of validation of their own beliefs, values, and standards. What are some reasons why or how children might resist their parents’ desires to maintain a close intimacy with them? 28. Sometimes older adults hesitate to give their adult children or other family members unsolicited advice or feedback because it might cause tension in the relationship if that feedback is negative. How do you feel about giving younger adults your advice or opinions, particularly if it might cause tension? Are there times when it is appropriate or inappropriate to give someone unsolicited advice? Draw on your own experiences or even your virtual person to provide examples. 29. Based upon the theory and research about mid-life crises discussed in your textbook and class, how might you explain a 40-something-year-old family member’s sudden change towards unpredictable behaviors and emotionality? 30. How can involvement in civic or religious activity buffer you against stress effects? Give some examples from your personal life. 31. What are some reasons why you or your friends might continue to work past the age of retirement? 32. Imagine you are 65 years old and you are experiencing conflicts with your adult children over a number of things: communication and style of interaction; lifestyle choices and habits; parenting practices; values, religion, ideology, and politics; work habits; and standards of household maintenance. How might you approach these conflicts or communicate with your children about them? Which differences could you feel at ease with and which would really bother you? 33. What employment problems might an older person face that could be the result of their age? 34. What are some internal and external factors that might contribute to a positive outlook about aging? 35. According to Nancy Schlossberg, there are multiple paths of retirement that adults may follow. (a) Continuers; (b) Involved spectators; (c) Adventurers; (d) Searchers; (e) Easy gliders; (f) Retreaters. Which of these paths seem most probable for you? Why? 36. How much and in what ways are older persons like yourself influenced by gender identity beliefs? Do you think that gender issues are of concern for older adults? 37. What factors might lead a person to select gender atypical activities and life roles? 38. Some of the best predictors of successful aging are an individual’s general outlook on life and his or her ability to adapt to life’s events-expected and unexpected! Looking back over your virtual life, which experiences could contribute to successful aging, and which could have put you at risk for unsuccessful aging? 39. What are the benefits of connecting with others throughout life and particularly during Late Adulthood? If you could do your virtual life over, would you do anything differently? 40. What model would you use to describe your coping with death and dying? Use your textbook to identify the model and describe how the stages you confront might be played out in your late adulthood years. Comment on previous experiences in your life (in childhood, adolescence, or emerging adulthood ages) which might also contribute to such a response. 41. What model would you use to describe your coping with death and dying? Use your textbook to identify the model and describe how the stages you confront might be played out in your late adulthood years. Comment on previous experiences in your life (in childhood, adolescence, or emerging adulthood ages) which might also contribute to such a response. 42. Do you expect to have a sense of ego integrity or ego despair as you move into and through late adulthood? What might make you more or less likely to have a sense of integrity? What decisions might you have made either now or in your virtual past to cope differently with either negative or positive experiences you have had in your virtual life? 43. Why are siblings such an important factor in elderly individuals having successful coping skills? Does this mean that aging persons without siblings (either due to loss or perhaps because they were an only child) are more at risk for problems in coping with aging? How might only children compensate for lacking siblings and have positive outcomes in later adulthood? 44. As a projective assignment, write your own obituary about your virtual life. What significant others in your life remain after you? What would you list as your meaningful moments or accomplishments, either those addressed within this virtual life course, or drawn from experiences not mentioned previously? You can write this from an observer’s point of view (third-person), or from your own perspective (first-person) as an autobiographical letter. Your instructor will provide you with more details about this assignment.
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