Generativity vs. Stagnation

Erik Erikson developed a theory that corresponds with the middle adulthood stage in a person’s life.  This theory is known as Generativity versus Stagnation. In the early stages of life, an individual focuses on learning, developing, and finding out his/ her true identity. When someone goes through generativity or stagnation, it is a huge transition in a person’s life, which can be rewarding or successfull. It is involved with the midlife stage because it is the first stage where a person begins to look back on their previous life, and then either accept or regret it.

Generativity refers to a person’s personal feeling of importance. When people express generativity, they are looking back on life and saying, “I made a difference in this world.”  The amount of appreciation expressed to a person can give them a sense of generativity.  In my final lifespan development paper, I interviewed my father so I could better understand a middle aged person’s cognitive, physical, and socioemotional development.  It seems that my father showed a great deal of generativity because he helps others by doing side jobs for them.  He believes that after the job is done, he goes home feeling important and as if he made a difference in someone’s life.

Stagnation is the opposite feeling of generativity. When someone is going through stagnation, they feel as though they made little or no impact in their life. Stagnation can also be expressed through a type of self-absorption. If a middle aged man or woman seems uninterested in other people’s lives, it is possible that they are feeling stagnation because they most likely already gotten married and had kids. It is likely that stagnation can cause depression because the person is constantly looking down on his self or other people. I feel that when I am older, I will not have any feelings of stagnation because I plan to help others in my life.

If I could fast forward my life to be 60 years old, I would be looking back on the life I had already lived. Considering that I hope to help as many induviduals as I can when I get a job, I would probably be feeling the same amount of generativity that my father does now.  By the time I am 60, I hope to make a difference in many people’s lives. By working in the medical field, I want to make a patient’s day better by talking to them or bringing them the things that make them the most comfortable. I would like to have contributed my hard work to the world someday. It would give me a sense of fulfilment if people were to thank me for all of the efforts I made in my life. Even to be appreciated would give me a sense of fulfilment.  By putting a smile on another person’s face, I would know at that moment that I made an impact on his/her life. Nursing not only requires work, but it also requires patience and understanding. Feeling a sense of generativity would always put a smile on my face.

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