To: Professor Montgomery
From: Nadia Bean
Subject: Me that no
longer exists and the “good old days”
We, as humans, glamorize the past.
Then, the “good old days” will always look better than they were.
When I think about the past, I have
the idea of a carefree girl in the world. This is really the truth that
children do not really have important concerns in life. Although as we continue
to grow, we assume more responsibilities and with this comes the stress related
to them, according to Ericson’s psychosocial stage, we all going through
several crises, from our childhood, adolescence to Adulthood.
When I was little, I remember that the
biggest concern I had was the spelling test on Friday. I think that when we
think about the old days, we only focus on the little worries when we were
little. It does not matter the time period, but the fact that we had a lot more
fun because we did not have big concerns or responsibilities. This is not the
same for everyone, but I think it is very common for people. Successful
completion in Ericson’s theory of each stage results in a healthy personality
and the acquisition of basic virtues. The basic virtues are the strengths of
the people that the ego can use to solve subsequent crises. If a stage is not
completed successfully, it can result in a reduced ability to complete the
later stages and, therefore, a more insane personality and a sense of self.
However, these stages can be successfully resolved later.
The following is Erikson’s
psychosocial stages, to which we referred earlier.
It is unavoidable remember who we
were and be able to see who we are now. The feeling of longing is still a loss
for one that existed. It is part of our personal history and, sometimes, it
interferes with our daily life so that we can accommodate it. However, the next
moment we return again to now, to our current self, which can serenely admire
how life is pure movement.
As time passes and
without realizing it, we face our first crisis as babies passing through eight
psychosocial stages in which we develop our lifespan according to Erikson.
1.-Trust vs. Mistrust. Success in this
stage will lead to the virtue of hope. By developing a sense of trust, as a
baby we can hope that as new crises arise, there is a real possibility that
other people will be there as a source of support. Not acquiring the virtue of
hope will lead us to the development of fear.
– Autonomy vs Doubt. In the second stage, Erikson states that it is essential
that parents allow their children to explore the limits of their abilities in
an environment that is encouraging and tolerant of failure.
3. – Initiative vs Guilt. It is at
this stage that we begin to ask many questions as the thirst for knowledge
grows. If parents treat the questions as something trivial, annoying or
embarrassing or other aspects of their behavior as threats, then, as children,
we may feel guilty for causing discomfort. Too much guilt can cause the child
to slow down to interact with others and can inhibit their creativity. Certain
guilt is, of course, necessary; otherwise, the child would not know how to
exercise self-control or have a conscience.
A healthy balance between
initiative and guilt is important. Success in this stage will lead to the
virtue of purpose.
4. – Industry vs. Inferiority. It
is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain greater importance and
become an important source of the child’s self-esteem. As a child we want to
feel the need to obtain approval by demonstrating the specific skills that
society values and we begin to develop a sense of pride in our achievements.
Unfavorable result, leads us to a feeling of inferiority and acceptance.
5. – Identity vs. Confusion. This is
an important stage of development where as a child we have to learn the roles
we will occupy as an adult. It is during this stage that as a teenager we will
revisit our identity and try to find out exactly who we are. Erikson suggests
that there are two identities involved: the sexual and the occupational. According
to Bee (1992), what should happen at the end of this stage is “a
reintegrated sense of oneself, of what one wants to do or be, and one’s proper
sexual role”. During this stage, body image as a teenager changes.
Erikson says that the
teenager may feel uncomfortable with his body for a while until he or she can
adapt and “grow” in the changes. Success in this stage will lead to
the virtue of fidelity. Fidelity implies being able to engage with others on
the basis of accepting others, even when there may be ideological differences.
During this period, they explore the
possibilities and begin to form their own identity based on the results of
their explorations. The failure to establish a sense of identity within society
can lead to a confusion of roles. The confusion of roles implies that the
individual is not sure of himself or of his place in society.
Some think that, the transition from
childhood to adulthood is the most important. As adolescents we want to be more
independent and start looking at the future in terms of career, relationships,
families, housing, etc. As individuals we want to belong to a society and fit.
6.-Intimacy vs. Isolation. Occurs in
adulthood considered between 18 and 40 years of age, we seek to share more
intimately with others. We explore relationships that lead to longer-term
commitments to someone who is not a member of the family. Successful completion
of this stage can result in happy relationships and a sense of commitment,
safety and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment
and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness and, sometimes, depression.
Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love.
It is going through this stage that
the phrase “the good old/bad days” begin to be part of my life. Immediately
after finishing college my residence changed. I moved to US. The first effect
of moving to US is that I could not communicate. The Language became the first
and biggest problem I encountered. I became deaf and dumb. I couldn’t speak or
write and couldn’t understand. Since my main focused was to learn the language,
was difficult to share or to explore any relationship this lead me to the ‘Insolation”.
it only lasted a while, I learned the language. I never lose hope, I was
willing to explore the limits of my own ability, feeling thirst to find the
reason of my life. I trust myself and was faithful to my ideas looking to be
independent and at the same time plotting a future, finding love for myself and
for others. Of course, there was some havoc along the way, but with effort I
Later during this stage, I went
through some of the saddest moments of my life and at the same time some of the
most beautiful. I got married and got pregnant, six months into the pregnancy
my mother died of cancer. Without a doubt, the birth of my son helped me to
recover from the loss of my mother. Subsequently and at the end of this stage I
had to face the divorce, and with it the habit of drinking. Which did not last
long thanks to the support of family and friends.
Apparently for Ericson in all ages,
“the good old days” does not exist, since he thinks that each age has
been a crisis that for some may have seemed intolerable when passing through
them. Fortunately, negative memories are more difficult to maintain, Negative
emotions prepare you for the realities of life; they are more useful for
long-term survival than positive emotions.
difficulties heal us, but over time, you will no longer remember them as negative,
you will refer them as the memories of the “good old days”.
7. Generativity vs. Stagnation. During
middle adulthood we establish our careers, settle down within a relationship,
begin our own families and develop a sense of being a part of the bigger picture.
We give back to society through raising our children, being productive at work,
and becoming involved in community activities and organizations.
By failing to achieve
these objectives, we become stagnant and feel unproductive. Success in this
stage will lead to the virtue of care.
This is the stage I am in now, I have
emotional and economic stability, I feel productive, I take care of my family,
my loved ones, I am concern about what happen in society, the environment, and
I raise my children sharing the memories of my ” good old days”. There
is a connection between my memory of the past and the ability to imagine the
future; the memories act as a record of my experiences and I use them to guide
my future. Now my most embarrassing stories became my favorites. This is not
because the initial experience was good, but because we tend to blur facts as a
way of survival, without this there would no be second chance at all after a
first negative experience. I like to maintain positive memories
and emotions which makes me feel healthier, happier and better prepared to face
8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair. As
we get older, life’s challenges we tend to slow down our productivity and
explore life as retired people. It is during this time that we contemplate our achievements
and can develop integrity if we see ourselves as leaders of a successful life.
Erik Erikson believes
that if we see our lives as unproductive, we feel guilty about our past or we
feel that we do not reach our life goals, we feel dissatisfied with life and
develop despair, which often leads to depression and hopelessness.
Success in this stage
will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom allows a person to look back on their
life with a sense of closure and integrity, and to accept death without fear.
all try to see the past in our lives, especially what we remember as the
“good old days”. One favors himself more unified by gathering pieces
of the past, since we recognizes and affirms our importance of being oneself.
We go back to the past because this solidifies and increases our identity. This
nostalgia for the past regenerates us and gives us the sensation of being
significant and of great value in situations of loneliness, separation, etc.
Nostalgia strengthens and invigorates social connections. It symbolizes
connections with other people and other times. This nostalgia for the past
increases secure attachment and social support. We remember that we are loved
and we can love others; seeing the past teaches us that we have survived and
made us feel alive by fostering creative and productive thinking. Remembering
the “good old days” is nothing more than the compilation of what will
make us reach the final goal successfully, which is to acquire the virtue of