There are theories of human development that cover all aspects of all stages of life. These theories present a collective knowledge regarding the physical, mental, and social changes that most people live through. This final essay for the course aims to outline what I have learned about the last four stages of a human life span.
Adolescence is a period of rapid changes in a person’s body and his or her social status. Physical changes occurring during this period are inexplicably linked with one’s personality (Berger, 2018). Adolescents explore social relationships with their peers, who are responsible for a significant amount of pressure that molds one’s character (Berger, 2018). All the way through puberty and its hormonal changes to new social responsibilities that come with age, this period defines a significant part of one’s identity for the future. Emerging adulthood is a transitional stage of human development that is characterized by a considerable amount of knowledge acquisition and instability in life goals (Berger, 2018). Tertiary education is often pursued during this period, while some young adults begin working and exploring their opportunities, continually pushing past the reasonable risks (Berger, 2018). One’s personality remains open to changes, and higher cognitive abilities, such as analytical thinking, become more important (Berger, 2018). At this peak of physical status, many people begin their adult lives.
Often, adulthood is the most prominent part of human life where one’s skills and knowledge are put to use. It is linked with a relatively stable personality, the strive for achievement, and the search for higher social status (Berger, 2018). During this period, one’s intellectual abilities reach their peak and begin a slight decline, while physical abilities depend on past and current habits, genes, and training (Berger, 2018). The connection with other people becomes crucial as the need to create new family bonds rises (Berger, 2018). Children bring a new dimension to the life of an adult, with numerous drastic changes (Berger, 2018). Many adults seek to optimize their life for maximum happiness.
During late adulthood, new obstacles continue to appear in a person’s life that change their position in society. While many older people remain active, their lifestyles and priorities change, and their focus shifts towards upholding social contact with friends and relatives (Berger, 2018). One-third of older people eventually become frail, which depends on their past health, life choices, and assistance from their relatives (Berger, 2018). Many theories attempt to explain these processes, and they present an opportunity for communities to improve the lives of their elderly people.
The final stage of a human lifespan is death, which follows a decrease in both the physical and mental capabilities of a person. In modern society, it is a sensitive topic with many controversial sides, such as grief and euthanasia, and it is a life-changing experience for many of those who continue living (Berger, 2018). A dying person seeks peace with their situation, which requires support from their close ones (Berger, 2018). Death causes grief from the sense of loss, but it is vital to experience this grief.
In conclusion, the studies of these irreversible processes that govern behavior, social status, and physical and mental health allow humans to understand the underlying changes that occur in an organism and their impact on a person and society. This course significantly broadened my perception of the aging process, especially the knowledge about the changes in social circles that happen later in adulthood. I believe I will be able to help my relatives to remain more socially active with this knowledge in mind. Moreover, with this information, I will be more considerate and respectful of older people, as well as remain calm and collected when I will experience these effects myself.
Berger, K. S. (2018). Invitation to the life span (4th ed.). Macmillan Higher Education.