Stages of Life
by Beverley Cumming
On a Life Stages time-line, I would be placed in the Late Adulthood category, also defined as the “Final Stage”. This is the time of life where we look back and reminisce and share our wisdom with others. We talk about the things of which we are proud and sometimes even the things that we regret.
When I meet and interact with other women, our talk is mainly about our common experiences, but it is the differences that make things interesting. Recently over coffee, an acquaintance said that she was the fourth child in a family of twelve children. I’m the oldest of two. Think of how something as simple as birth order would influence one’s development.
Psychologists have many theories about how individuals get to be who they are. The simplest idea for me is that of NATURE vs NURTURE or (heredity vs environment). I feel that who I am is mostly a result of environment. While my genetic makeup stays the same, I have been changed through the different exterior factors I have had. I remember all the “girl” things we endured as we played - playing school, playing nurse, playing with baby dolls, etc. to create some kind of role for girls so they could move “properly” into the next stage of life. For most of us our options were limited by the norms of society at the time.
It seems that much of the emphasis in women’s stages of life focused around the reproductive years – from puberty to menopause. Although certainly impactful, this time of one’s life brings about many special events besides the biological. Even before this , from toddler to adult, we are products more of the external influences than how we start out in life.
Thankfully, girls and women today have the opportunity to enjoy many choices - Climb a mountain, why not ? Play hockey, why not? Pilot a plane, why not? Be a Mother, why not? The list is endless. Choices will be made as a result of “ What each brings to the table “ . . . based on one’s unique combination of Nature and Nurture. Luckily, there have been enough women in the past who have gone beyond the common roles in place at the time. They have resisted the pressure, and struggled to achieve personal goals in spite of the disapproval of many.
So as I reminisce from my spot as an “Elder” I take pride in what we women have accomplished as we were growing and preparing for each stage of our lives. Here I am, a unique product of both genetics and experiences. I am very envious of the options available to girls and women today as they move through the stages of life. I cheer as more things are achieved – CFL coach? Astronaut? Snow Boarder? Anything is possible.
YOU GO GIRL! !