Adulthood is a process of growth and maturity in humans. It has several stages such as early, middle, and late adulthood. Adulthood is influenced by various fundamental factors including cultural, biological, and social factors. Different people define adulthood in their own way depending on their environmental changes. In most cases, scientifically, one becomes an adult when he or she experiences physical and emotional changes. Even though this is a proven fact, not all people who are physically grown can be considered adults because their behavioral patterns speak differently from what their age and physical appearance speak. All cultural, social, and biological factors define person’s behavioral patterns. Biologically, a person becomes an early adult when he or she hits the age of puberty and starts experiencing physical changes that make him a young man or woman. With different cultural practices, such as those that exercise rite of passage, a person is an early adult when he is circumcised. Socially, he is an early adult when he begins to prefer older friends who can lead and direct him (Onedera & Stickle 73-77).
Enculturation and culture define middle adulthood for many children because most are not born possessing culture. However, with training and behavioral patterns surrounding them, they eventually get to learn cultural beliefs and practices that make them adults in their communities. The way in which families and communities take care of their children determines how deeply children will believe in and practice their culture. This is because some cultures expect higher performances from children, and only then are they adults. For others age determines every stage they pass through to become adults, while for others the environment defines them. Adulthood experiences depend on community, age, and social background. A child surrounded only by adults is more likely to adopt adult behavioral patterns by constantly imitating their behaviors. A child from a community with many cultural practices is likely to become an adult at a very young age because it enters adulthood through cultural practices. For example, in some communities young girls are circumcised to be ready wife material at the age of puberty. In comparison to other communities, a girl is only ready to be a wife at the age of 18 (Onedera & Stickle 73-77).
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Socially, children become adults depending on the environment and people surrounding them. This is because they are easily influenced by those around them and eventually adopt to ways other than their own way of living. Biologically, when children develop complications at birth, during growth, or as a cause of illnesses, they are likely to be majorly affected. This will mean that they receive care regardless of their age and surrounding environment. For such children, the rite of passage cannot be performed on them because of their condition. Likewise, they cannot grow as normal children, so they will likely miss the adulthood physical experiences. While social, biological, and cultural factors define person’s adulthood, family and culture have obligations to ensure successful adulthood for every child. The family determines the process of adulthood by the support and love they offer to their loved one. They can achieve this by creating a normal and conducive environment for the one going through adulthood. A normal environment helps them have an easy transition from childhood to adulthood expectations and experiences (Lawson 188-190).
In this way, young adults will not feel weird and disfigured whenever physical changes occur. They can also develop self-esteem and respect for themselves and eventually maintain their prestige. On the other hand, rites of passage should also be adjusted to fit only those who are of the right age because in most cases young girls and boys are overwhelmed by responsibilities and expectations of the community and so they end up failing in performing as expected. Child’s experience in learning culture, language, responsibility, perception of the world, and then responding to what he learns defines his stage of adulthood: whether he is in the early, middle, or late adulthood. His understanding of such factors makes him a good and productive member of the society. While adulthood is an exciting stage in person’s life, there is the age when one is considered old or at menopause because there are different expectations at this stage. Physically, one is old when he gets to the menopause age, which is around 50 years. Socially, people have changed their perception of growing old. One only admits he or she is old when he can no longer care for himself and others (Faiola 142-143).
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Typically, successful ageing is the stage where one has raised his children and provided a promising future for them, secured an economical position in the society, and contributed towards the growth of the society. This is because their children will be left struggling if they do not ensure security for them. At this stage, one is expected to give back to the society after achieving all goals and concentrate on their families. At this time, one has more time to devote to activities that put off his experiences in the past and instead create hope for his family and society. This way, people's lives account for something and give them a feeling of fulfillment. During this stage, one is able to deal with any situation arising because of the experiences that were either sad or happy and can offer wise guidance to those around him. In addition to this, successful ageing comes when one is ready to deal with his own mortality without any feeling of fear and regret. In other words, successful ageing requires positive and receptive attitude in a person that will develop contentment and peace during this period. For example, accepting wrinkles and worn out facial appearances, accepting help from others, and embracing different aspects of ageing (Faiola 142-143).
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In conclusion, adulthood and ageing are both exciting and educative stages in person’s life. They are not merely passage of time, but also the manifestation of cultural, biological, and social events that occur during this time and can potentially change people’s lives. Since adulthood begins with the birth of a person and ageing ends with a death of a person, it is crucial that in all these stages, one learns and understands whatever faze he is in. This way, he will be able to accomplish goals and contribute to the growth of the society and become its important member. Successful adulthood and ageing is determined by biological, cultural, and social factors, which can potentially declare good normal, or bad weird behavior in a person. This way, one can age healthier and find peace with their achievements in life.
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