Every time I type out Generativity, my automatic spell check on WordPress wants to fix it or change it and the red squiggly line remains underneath it.
At first, while doing research for a topic I wanted to write about, I came across the word and didn’t think it was even a real word. Maybe it’s not but it is out there and Erik Erikson is behind the concept.
So, who is Erik Erikson? According to Wikipedia,
Erik Homburger Erikson (15 June 1902 – 12 May 1994) was a German-born American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychosocial development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis. His son, Kai T. Erikson, is a noted American sociologist.
I had never heard of him before I started looking for the topic I wanted to blog about – dealing with turning a certain age. I didn’t have a term for it and so I took to Google to try to find something more concrete and up came Erik Erikson and his Generativity.
Generativity is a struggle against stagnation that ascends during adulthood.
I have wanted this to be a topic on my blog for some time but could never nail down a single word or phrase that described what I wanted to write about. In my head, the topic was about turning a certain age, or the BIG 5-0 that was fast approaching for me, and everything that goes with getting older.
Whether it be physically getting older or emotionally getting older or bucking the traditional image of getting older. What do young people think about older people? What is different about me turning 50 than it was for when my parents turned 50? What is our generation leaving behind? What does it mean to turn 50 these days, from my perspective?
Those are the things I want to blog about here from time to time and I could never come up with a word or short phrase for the category. But then I found Generativity. So I am going with that.
Do you remember when you were young and you met an “old” person? That old person seemed so old to you! Remember? But that person was probably ONLY 50 years old. But back then, did it mean something different? Was it different for my grandparents? My parents?
I remember being young and thinking my parents knew EVERYTHING! They seemed to have it all together. They were working, providing security, and making their mark, leaving their own legacy. They seemed like giants to me and they were worldly. That was my vision of them when I was very young and little. Most of the grown-ups in my life back then, they were the movies stars of my life, the news & journalists people, the politicos, the celebrity chefs, the educators, and the entertainers of my life. They were the ones I got my information from in the beginning and they were larger than life!
Now, looking back on that time, I did the calculations and my parents were only in their late 20s when I was 10-years old! My grandparents in their 40s, maybe early 50s!! MY GOD! If I did my math correctly, one of my grandmothers was only 39-years old when I was born in 1966. Which means she was 49 when I turned 10. SO YOUNG! But back then, they were already “old” to me. FYI, that particular grandmother is still living. 🙂
Today, I am the one facing 50. Well, I just turned 48-years old but next year I’ll turn 50! Meaning, I have not yet had my 49th birthday in this New Year. 😉 But it is right around the corner! The older I get, the faster time goes by. Why is that? You know it, you experience it too. Remember when we were kids and it took a gazillion years for the summertime to get here? Ah, but that is probably a post for another time; time warp.
It has only been recently that I’ve been alarmed about going down that well-beaten path of aging. I see people all around me that are getting older, who are already well on their way, and they are all the same. They all have the same concerns and the same symptoms and the same pains. It scares me. I do not want what I see. I start looking for immediate exits, alternate paths, an escape.
My escape right now consists of participating in CrossFit to stay fit. Staying up with the latest styles and fashion trends without it looking like I am trying too hard – that is the difficulty for me because there is definitely a difference between how a 20-year old dresses and a 50-year old dresses. But I also don’t want to start wearing orthopedic shoes with velcro, pants that have elastic waistbands, and oversized pastel-colored sweatshirts accompanied by appliqué angel-kittens on the front. And don’t even get me started on hair.
Now, I know not every single older person is this way but the majority of them are. There are a few exceptions. And when I say older, I mean the “older people” I thought about when I was a kid. The people my age now, or in their 50s and 60s – those “old” people. They are, of course, not old but they sure do act like it! I want to go up to them and ask them WHY? Why are you acting like you are 90-years old already? Stop it! I know people like this and they are not that much older than me!
And I constantly think about what I will be like when I am in my 60s and 70s. What type of person will I be then? Will I be okay with the stagnation by that time? But even 60- and 70-years old does not sound old to me. Not anymore, seeing as how it is only 20 years away for me.
Do we all fall into that perception of oldness because we get stagnant? Because it is easier? More comfortable? I don’t know. I cannot answer that, I do not have an answer. All I do know, is that I don’t want to fall under that spell and start the massive march into stagnation.
One day though, I won’t have that choice. I will have to surrender to that method of living. But today is not that day.
There is so much more on this topic to be discussed. We can break it down to simple every day things and that is what the Generativity topic will be here on the blog from here on out.
Thanks for reading and show me your moxie!