Home Concepts Adult Development Essay XVII: Moving from Generativity Two to Generativity Three–Returning to Major Life Issues

Essay XVII: Moving from Generativity Two to Generativity Three–Returning to Major Life Issues

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In less dramatic form, we hear many stories of physicians or ministers who grew-up with a father or mother who was also a doctor or minister. During his mid-centurion years, the foreclosed physician or minister takes up a hobby or avocation that speaks to a suppressed identity. She joins a physician’s bridge club or spends every free moment sailing a boat. Like Jane, the foreclosed professional might participate in a sport, or like Samuel, join a rock-and-roll band. By contrast, a man or woman who has grown up in poverty will rebel by leaving his job (if he has one). “Take this job and shove it” is a recurring anthem for the foreclosed mid-centurion from the lower middle class. Or the beleaguered male at mid-life will leave his family, drink heavily and take up with a younger woman. If nothing else, he will allow himself to go a little mad as a sports fan and live vicariously off the alternative identities and successes of athletes on his favorite teams.  And what about the beleaguered female? What is her option: stay with the family, raise the kids herself, and live a life of quiet despair?

Alternatively, does the mid-centurion who is faced with socio-economic challenges somehow find a way to succeed and become generative? We have yet to mention that both Ricardo and his wife came from a family background of poverty and ethnic discrimination, yet have been able to work hard and establish a comfortable life for themselves. Their remarkable success has led to the decision of Ricardo’s wife to work beyond the usual retirement age. The move out of poverty has also enabled Ricardo to discover expanding roles of generativity through his renewed interest in cooking, collecting old cookbooks (Generativity Three), and hosting cooking classes (Generativity Two and Four).

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