I guess I was about 41 or 42 when I was reintroduced to Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development and realized that I had moved into the stage he called generativity, or the care of others and the betterment of society. This stage runs from roughly ages 35 to 55 or 65. Get it wrong at this stage, he said, and we can become self-absorbed and stagnate.
I’m at the brink now of moving into the final stage. My choices, Erikson felt, for this upcoming period in my life are to be fulfilled, content, and comfortably detached from the hurly-burly of “getting there,” or to be despairing of missed opportunities, fearful of death, and dogmatic in the view that my path and my opinions were the only right ones.
While I’m not overjoyed at the prospect of the likely physical and intellectual challenges that I may face in the future, I’m feeling pretty good about my progress through the stages so far, and (mostly) eager about the possibilities as I wrap it up.