As I reflect upon my life I will describe facts and events believed to have contributed to the person I am today. I like how Merriam Webster’s online dictionary explains experience as something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through. I have encountered difficulties, circumstances, and triumphs that have helped me to grow as a person. I am pursuing a higher education as my future goal. In this paper, I will apply theories from Adult Development and Life Assessment in my explanation of challenges I have faced during childhood to adulthood.
I was born in Chicago, one of six girls and the middle child of twelve. As early as I can remember we worked as a group. We played together and we worked in the garden that my parents made in our back yard. I hated the garden because every time I wanted to go play, I first had pick vegetables out of the garden. I didn’t understand at the time that my parents used the garden to help feed our large family. My dad always worked two jobs; his primary employment was with a company called Central Soya. When my father retired from there we moved to Alabama because the cost of living was cheaper.
We didn’t have a lot of material things like clothes and shoes. My mother would buy tennis shoes from the grocery store and my brothers would be so embarrassed because their friends saw them trying on the shoes in the store. I can remember my dad making me a pair of pants for school; I thought they were the prettiest pair of pants I had ever seen. It was cheaper to make a pair of pants than to buy them.
My parents cut corners any way they could. We may not have had material things but what we did have was love and lots of talent. Not real talent but talent that’s appreciated in a family. On rainy days mom and dad would have us put on a talent show. It was so much fun that we kept the tradition even until adulthood. On birthdays and holidays we would use our talents to entertain mom and dad. Birthdays were especially special because my dad would make me a birthday cake. He was a really good cook and everyone in the neighborhood wanted a piece of his cake.
My sixteenth birthday marked a significant shift in my life. I became pregnant and it was one of the biggest mistakes that started a downward spiral in my life. I hung out with older girls that had children. They were into partying and so called having a good time. Our environment plays a huge role in how we develop, what pathways are open to us, and which are closed (Witt, G.A., & Mossler, R. A. (2010). I feel like the environment that I chose to be in led to early exploration of drugs and alcohol. I could see myself going in the wrong direction with more terrible consequences if I didn’t make a change. I stopped hanging out and got my first job. It was on a military base in the mess hall. I met a soldier and we got married on our way to work one day when I was twenty one years old.
We dated for four months then he went overseas for a year. We married a year later after he returned to the states. Being married was a challenge because he was abusive physically, verbally, and mentally. I had listened to his insults for so long that they became part of my own vocabulary. I began to think that maybe he was right, maybe if I could cook, clean, dress or talk better it would fix our problems. In our text Freud believed that the mind uses defense mechanism to protect itself from severe distress. In the beginning I rationalized everything he did, in rationalization: we look for an acceptable reason to justify our thinking or behavior (Witt & Mossler 2010). I got involved in church and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior. As a result I think a lot of the abusive behavior was able to continue because I simply forgave, thinking it was the Christian thing to do.
According to Haan (1977), coping strategies involve choice and purposive behavior, are oriented toward reality, involve differentiated thinking that integrates conscious and preconscious aspects, and permit affective satisfaction in an open, ordered, and tempered way (Psychology and Aging 2000 ). It came to a point after seventeen years of abuse I couldn’t take it anymore. I had done all that I could physically to have a successful marriage but it wasn’t working out for me. I had to face the cruel reality that my marriage was over. Finally I filed for a divorce, which was one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life. Going through the divorce gave me a sense of freedom and strength that I had never experienced in my marriage. Getting a divorced was the best thing I could have done for myself. It started me on a journey to find out what I want out of life for myself.
It marked a new beginning to a better, brighter future in my life. I was free to make my own decisions that impact my life. One of those decisions was returning to school for a degree. I really want to be an example to my daughter and her children that education is the key to success, and you are never too old to be successful in life.
I must admit that I was very afraid of returning to school because I thought that I would not be successful. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to remember things or comprehend how to do the work. Some researchers contend that intellectual functioning is a process of irreversible decline. However, most scholars agree that intelligence either remains relatively stable through the adult years, with substantial intellectual changes occurring only very late in life, or that intelligence declines in some respects, remains stable in others, and may even increase in some functions, depending on a person’s educational level, life experiences, and overall health (Intelligence and Aging 2007). I am now encouraged to pursue my education. I’m not too old, I plan to finish my courses and earn my degree. My goal is to apply for higher positions that require a degree. There will be many opportunities open to me once I earn my degree in my field of study.
In conclusion, I have shared different experiences that have influenced my personal life. I have used theories from this class to support my experiences and I have shared my future plans to achieve my academic goals. Every lesson I complete moves me one step closer to my goal.
Intelligence and Aging (2007) Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide.
Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/wileyla/intelligence-and-aging
Witt, G. A., Mossler, R.A., (2010). Adult Development Retrieved from http://content.ashford. edu /AUPYS202.10.1
Vief, G. L., Diehl, M., (2000) Cognitive complexity and cognitive-affective integration. Psychology and Aging. Vol.15 (3) US: American Psychological Association pp. 490 -504.doi:10.1037/0882-79184.108.40.2060
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