“Every now and then, it’s good to pause, reflect on your life to date.” Prof. Lynn
According to Erik Erikson*, there are eight psychosocial stages of development. There is an increasing body of research that suggests the process of reviewing your life experiences is helpful in many ways. Your consciousness is raised. You can resolve past conflicts. Reflecting can add meaning to your life, and it can help lessen depression and anxiety. All good reasons to examine your life so far. I’m going to focus on the last three stages. They are the ones most of you are in. First you have to know how old you are, that determines your stage (see chart below). Then answer the questions for where you are currently.
Did you get married? How is your marriage doing?
Any kids? What’s your relationship with your children over the years?
Who else are you close to? Do you have intimate friends you can share feelings with?
If you are 40-59 a Generation X – Answer these questions:
Describe your career. What have you been doing in your 30s, 40s, and 50s?
Have you had to deal with loss? How are you doing now? What have you learned?
Are you making a difference or just plugging along?
If you are a 60+ a Boomer – Answer these questions:
What would you still like to accomplish with your life?
What makes you happy now?
Overall, what kind of a life do you think you have had?
* Erik Erikson, Identity and the Life Cycle, 1959.
Why is it important to reminisce? To review your life now and then? Living well in the present is helped by not carrying around baggage from your past, and this process of reflecting on the core issues for your age can help you integrate your feelings and as a result, you’ll be healthier and happier. For millennials the issue is, have you developed the capacity to be intimate or are you isolated? For the gen Xers, the issue is are you growing and producing, being productive, or are you stagnating, wasting away in a meaningless job? And for the boomers, are you authentic, sharing your wisdom, or are you despairing for having wasted your life? This is a great time to review your life. It’s never too late to make changes.