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Reflective Life Stages

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Reflective Journal: Stages of Life
Bill Williams
Liberty University

Reflective Journal: Stages of Life
This Reflective essay will cover the life stages that have been covered from 0 to 44. Using Erikson’s life stage theory, this assignment will chart important life crisis points which have helped to define me. Erickson’s life span theory postulated about life being comprised of eight stages, where human beings have the task to master each stage. Each stage is presented with a confrontation which produces two possible outcomes (Rice, 2001). The first incremental time frame will cover four stages of the Erickson’s model.
Stage One
Stage one covers birth to 10 years of age. According to Erickson’s model, humans experience several moments of the crisis where one master and then moves into the next stage of life's. The first ten years of life were full of turmoil, being physically abused by my biological parents and ultimately abandoned. After been traumatized by these events I was removed and placed for adoption. There were residual issues such as nightmares, frequent altercations with peers, and bedwetting. Baker confirmed that high stress is a contributing factor to the increased disruptive behaviors and delays normal developmental milestones (Baker et al., 2003). The prominent stage that was easily identified was the competency versus inferiority. I remember always feeling as if I were not good enough and inadequate, never able to please my mom and dad.
Stage Two
This stage covers ages 11 to 20. According to the Erickson’s model this frame is considered to be the Identity versus Role Confusion stage (Rice, 2001). During this stage, there was a struggle regarding who I wanted to be which was a good kid who listened to his parents or the partying teen who wanted to hang with his friends. Emotionally, I started to reflect on my life, having much older parents and wondering why I was adopted. There were days I just did not have the answers and talking about it with my family was not an option. Asking question and expressing myself would have been viewed as rebellion. Rebellion was not really tolerated because of the strong, Christian parenting I received. Ultimately, strong parenting won out, allowing me to finish high school. However, in an act of defiance I entered into the military against my mother’s wishes. This was my first adult decision that had rewards and consequences.
Stage Three The ages of 21 to 30 began a turbulent time period for me. I desired to find intimacy. I entered into several relationships which ended miserably. According to Erickson this stage of crisis is the struggle between intimacy and isolation (Rice, 2001). The relationships did not align with my parental example of a good relationship. The individuals I encountered wanted to be career women and I wanted a homemaker. A homemaker is a female who makes the decision to be a stay- at -home mother raising the kids, but being industrious and seeking work outside of the home when necessary. My thoughts and beliefs caused me to feel isolated during this time. I felt that my thinking was logical and basic however, I presented antiquated and dated because the structure of the world in which we live.
Stage Four.
The ages of 31-40 are still considered to be in the young adult time period. I engaged finally in a stable relationship. I was able to develop a relationship and adopted four children myself. My love and commitment has grown tremendously for my children, showing me some things I was missing while growing up and somethings remind me of what I had forgotten. I also completed several degrees during this time, something I was not able to do in my twenties. My ability to stay committed spilled over into my spiritual life as I began to pastor my first church for several years. I began to understand how to persevere despite tough times, disappointments, sickness and other life issues.

Stage Five I have found pleasure in the things I have accomplished during this time period. Purchasing a home, buying vehicles, and doing some traveling has shown me that hard work lends itself to enjoying some of life simple pleasures. What I tend to struggle with is the generativity versus stagnation period of the life stage, whereas I want to be productive (Rice, 2001). I think about what I want to leave my children or the investment I want to make in their lives now. I am more cautious in how I approach parental moments, especially with my girls being young and not understanding my concerns when they engage in risky behaviors. Fortunately, this field of work allows me to continue to learn and grow. The human services field is an ever evolving study and the continual changes keeps me from feeling stagnate.
Chapter Summary
Rice (2001) attempts to give the reader a greater understanding of the perspective of adult development (Rice, 2001, p403). Chapter 15 offers positive aspects as well as challenges to growing older (Rice, 2001). While transitioning through this stage the author mentions several important dimensions including social, legal, biological and emotional dimensions which can enhance or causes a degree of instability for the developing adult (Rice, 2001). The author discusses several other models such as Gould’s Phases of Life, Levinson’s Seasons of life, Valliant’s Adaptation to Life, Normative–Crisis Model, and Timing of Events Model to provide information and different perspectives on the aging process. The chapter closes discussing the change or stability of personality throughout adulthood. The chapter mentions that there are five clusters of personality traits which remains stable through adulthood (Rice, 2001).

Adult Transitions
One of the issues which I found to be the most challenging is the transitions through young adult and middle adulthood. According to Erickson, the chief psychosocial task of middle age is the realization of generativity (Rice, 2001). It is at his point that you realize that you are not as young as you used to be. You begin to think about the next generation and what you want to deposit that will be of importance to the next generation. There are three areas during this stage that I want to cover which offer the most challenges at this stage of life that I find myself in. The three areas of struggle are: achievement, confidence, and being my own person. They are the areas of this stage that offer the point of great introspection.
Achievement
Over the course of the last 44 years I have attempted many things. There are things I have accomplished and they are things I have failed at. Some of the areas of my greatest achievements were also my areas of my biggest failures. I have earned several degrees, but I also had to drop out of school due to my lack of focus. Being an adult learner is very difficult, especially when you have so many responsibilities and obligations. One of the important lessons I have learned along the way is to inform my children of the importance of getting your basic education; at a minimum a bachelor’s degree completed before you begin to pursue certain adventures and activities such as relationships.
Another areas of achievement has been marriage. My wife, whom I have been married to for 12 plus years has been an important part of my success. Prior to my wife, I was married twice in my twenties, I rushed into relationships thinking that would allow me to be the head. I had a plan for my life and where I wanted my family to be in a certain amount of time. I soon realized that the women I was attracted to were career women and the thought of staying home and not be in the workforce was not on their radar. After that realization, those relationships failed miserably. My current wife thought about being a homemaker and I was excited about that and felt comfortable with her and where we were going as far as a family. However, after marriage she changed her mind and decided to focus on her career. It caused me great stress. We have worked through difficult moments and invested into our careers together. I worked extra jobs and paid her tuition as she earned two Master degrees in Administration and received a promotion into administration.
Confidence
My achievements have given me a new confidence in allowing life to flow, trusting that things will work themselves out. Most importantly, it has placed my true confidence in God. “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught” (Proverbs 3:26, KJV). Confidence is built on positive and negative experiences that produces a life lesson. The life lesson gives you the confidence in God that He can handle the affairs of man. Confidence is truly not about who we are but who God is with us.
Being own person
Being your own person comes as part of the aging process. Aging is a natural process that should not be presumed to lead to inevitable loss or diminishing faculties (Clinton-Langberg, 2011). Aging is not a bad thing. Some things I am glad to have aged out of. I do not wish to enter into the military again. I do not desire to return to elementary school and having to deal with the peer pressures of today. There are some many positive aspects of aging; such as the ability to go places and do certain activities that are age appropriate and safe. Being your own person pushes you to take better care of yourself (Clinton-Langberg, 2011). Being overly tired is counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle. Learning from past unhealthy choices motivates me to take care of myself. I have become more conscious of what I eat and drink. I have taken my periods of rest very serious whereas in my twenties I was accustomed to sleeping for 5 hours a day and would neglect the need for rest, needless to say I am paying for that now.
Transition into Counseling
All of the things I have endured in life have helped me to see that I can be effective in counseling. I truly understand the physical, social, and the emotional effects of abuse and adoption. My experiences as a child have helped me tremendously in raising my children whom I adopted. It has eliminated the excuse of being out of control due to the issues of fitting in socially. There are several things I wish to experience. I wish to complete my doctoral degree. A doctoral degree would give me the professional acceptance that is needed in the field that separates me from my peers. From a life perspective, I wish to move back to Cleveland, Ohio my hometown. I want to take my life lessons and experiences and utilize them as a platform to help my family and friends. Giving back to others is an important part of life that adults should engage in. Returning to your roots to help someone else closes the circle of life for the adult.

References Baker, B. L., McIntyre, L. L., Blacher, J., Crnic, K., Edelbrock, C. and Low, C. (2003), Pre- school children with and without developmental delay: behaviour problems and parenting stress over time. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47: 217–230. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2788.2003.00484.x
Clinton, T. E., & Langberg, D. (2011). The quick-reference guide to counseling women. Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books.
Rice, F. (2001). Human development: A life-span approach (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall…...

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