I was doing my psychology homework today and started reading about Levinson.
He was a theorist that believed we humans function in what he calls life structure phases. He believed any time we start something new we go through three stages, the novice stage, the mid-era and lastly the culmination stage. In basic terms we at first really do not know what to do. Half way through it we kind of know what to do then we get to the "oh, yeah baby, I got this" stage.
What intrigued me about this theory is what he describes as the instability we feel when we are not sure of what we are doing.
After we finally know what we are doing we enter a stable phase.
Pardon the psychology lesson but this got me thinking if we humans live our lives in cycles or stages "where go I next?"
My whole adult life up to this point had been first about taking care of adults in my life who refused to act as adults. Then when I got married it was about my husband, then my kids, after my divorce it was about my new spouse and his kids.
I do not regret what I did and I truly enjoyed every minute, well almost every minute, I spent being a mom.
The thing is how do I transition from being so-and-so's mom, to being me, my own person, my own entity?
The cool thing about this trip of self discovery that I am planning is that I am actually looking forward to it!
I am not sad or melancholy and mostly I am not looking back in regret.
Another thing I read in my psychology class was how we humans have the capacity to keep learning new things all the way into our late seventies and beyond. Not only that but we humans are designed to keep learning new things, if we do not keep learning we stagnate and stunt our own progression.
The theory that you cannot learn something because you are too old or that you cannot teach a new dog, old tricks is false!
Just checking to see if you were still paying attention! I actually typed it that way because it was two in the morning and way past my bed time!
Anyway what I meant to say is that you can teach an old dog a new trick!
So now that I cannot use that as an excuse where do I travel to in my quest for knowledge?
My son Eric tells me jokingly that I am just a confused house wife who cannot make up her mind about what she wants to do with her life! Now I can tell him it is not my fault it is human nature to keep discovering new facets to ourselves!
When I refer to my "GPS" that I need for this trip, I mean my "generally positive state"!
In order to discover new things, explore our full potential we need to keep a positive outlook and healthy self-esteem. We need to believe in our abilities to excel or at least learn new skills.
Imagine learning to play a piano in your forties or how about ballroom dancing in your golden years? Maybe finally getting around to earning that college degree if for no other reason than to say that you did!
In the place where I am in my life right now even with the bills, financial pressures, time constraints and commitments I am still able to travel deep within myself to discover me and the exciting worlds that I could never have imagined before.
I can write a book even if I am the only one that reads it. I can paint a picture, plant a garden, run on the beach and enjoy the warmth of the sand in between my toes.
I can re-learn old lessons with my baby grandson.
I read another part in my book that said the challenge with older people is that they have too much life left at the end of their script! How sad but so true!
We plan for college, career, marriage, and kids. Then what, retirement?
Okay but what are we actually going to do in retirement? Or a better way to look at it is how am I going to live my life to its fullest potential every single minute of every day once I do retire?
And why call it retirement? It sounds like we are checking out of life just because we have stopped going to a work place.
It should actually be called reinvigorating!
Reinvigorating our minds, our souls, our communities, our being, ourselves to conquer new worlds!
How exciting is that? I am still not sure what destination my life holds for me but one thing is certain I am going to focus on enjoying every inch of the journey!
It is not about the final destination because once we reach our current destination we need to find another destination to work towards to keep ourselves growing!
Just as Levinson pointed out we learn something new, get okay at it and then totally rock at it!
The thing to keep in mind is not to get ourselves all stressed out because we are trying something new!
Also there is no such thing as a final destination on this earth unless we want to sit around and get rusty.
So me and my "generally positive state", "GPS", are embarking on a journey that will be amazing, exciting and even if it is not, I am still going to learn something new each day and isn't that the best part of living life?