Sunday, January 22, 2017

When you reach the end of your working life

When I first began studying adult education at age 34, I was motivated greatly by all the new and interesting things I was learning. 

I had commenced my working life (14 years of age) as a boilermaker-welding apprentice, spent a stint in the Air Force (RAAF) during the Vietnam fiasco, and been a police officer for 10 years. 
Attending university as a mature age student, married with two children was an opportunity of a lifetime. I took to it like a duck to water and never looked back.

One of the subjects that most held my interest was educational psychology. Psychology came alive for me as I could see its relevance and presence in the world around me. 

One of my favourite psychologists was Erik Erikson and his "Eight Ages of Man" impressed me greatly as being inordinately accurate.

I was in Erikson's Sixth Stage when I began university study; "Intimacy versus Isolation". His description of that stage fitted my circumstances very well - love. I'd met my life's love and with her created two children.

Now, after a working life of 51 years, I am well in the Eighth Stage, "Ego Integrity versus Despair" which is worth describing here:

As we grow older (65+ yrs) and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.
Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.

Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a sense of closure and completeness, and also accept death without fear. HREF

I retired from the full-time workforce on 30 June 2012 and continued doing some casual contract work for a government agency until June 2016.

Now I'm retired and I wonder how I ever had time to work. I occasionally miss the social aspects of managing a team and working, but I volunteer for a Veteran's Support group, play golf at least three days per week, do some construction/maintenance jobs at my daughter's house, and travel, travel, travel. 

I'm in the Eighth Age and look back on my life with a sense of closure and completeness and accept death without fear. It's a wonderful place to be considering the many who never make it.

It's also time to wind back some of my internet accounts and some of the other accounts that helped me network, mentor, learn, contribute, and simply be part of wonderful communities.

A new stage of life, new interests.

I truly hope that, like me, you reach Erikson's Eighth Stage and have time to enjoy the fruits of your labour before taking that journey from which noone returns.

1 comment:

  1. Every so often the typeface font stuffs up. I have no idea why.


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