How do you identify yourself as a senior? Do you look at yourself as an active older adult, or as a formerly active person who has gotten old? Are you an old man or woman who is in the twilight of your life, or a vibrant and active older adult with a lot of life still ahead of you? Do you see your future as one of opportunity, or a future of despair?
The tenth attribute in this series based on the 12 Attributes of Human Functioning as listed by Michael Murphy in his book, The Future of the Body and Michael Murphy and George Leonard’s book, The Life We are Given is “Sense of Self”. What does that mean? Sense of self is basically your own Personal Identity that you carry with you throughout life.
Your Sense of Self starts as a child. The things you absorb from your parents and teachers, both motivating and discouraging affect how you see yourself as a child and is reflected most often through a Positive or Negative outlook on your young life. As you moved into adolescence, it is mostly your teachers and your peers who affect your self image, as well as the way you see yourself as a teenager and as you move into adulthood. Your successes and failures or disappointments during this period will affect your attitude toward life as you become an adult and will change slowly as you develop new influences and new peer groups.
Is there an outward reflection of your Sense of Self? Of course. It’s reflected in your posture, your bearing, and your expression of enthusiasm for living. It’s mostly reflected in the way you demonstrate your general attitude toward life. People can tell whether you have a positive attitude or a negative attitude about life by the way you carry yourself and your outward manifestation of self-confidence. These things show.
Why is your Sense of Self important as you move into your late fifties, sixties, seventies and older? How will it change? What changes have you noticed about the way you think about yourself as an older person. Who are you now? Has your self identity changed?
As we get older, we start changing our “sense of self”. We start to think of our accomplishments in life, or we often think of our lack of accomplishments in terms of the things in our life that we have never done, or are unfinished. How did we get to be this age and have so many things undone? Will we become incapacitated? How can we prevent becoming dependent? A good sense of self comes when we feel good and take care of ourselves and are happy with life as it is. Acceptance of “life on life’s terms” becomes critical to our attitude. We look at the future as pure opportunity.
This is not the kind of article where a conclusion is in order. Rather it is a series of questions that we should be asking ourselves. How we answer those questions will determine our “sense of self” during the remainder of our life. There are a lot of those questions in this article that can only be answered by you.
We can choose how we want to live our senior years. We can choose our responses to what happens to us as seniors. How we think about ourselves, our “sense of self”, will be a powerful force in how we live our lives. Let’s hope we make good choices.
Thank you for reading.