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Discussion Starter #1
Several decades ago I read that people's character does not change much as they age.

If we are mellow, kind and personable for example, as young adults, we supposedly become even more so as we age. If we are high strung, judgemental and unfriendly, we become more of the same as we get older. In short, we supposedly become the sweet little old______, or crochety old______ whatever, in spades over the decades of our lives depending on how we started out.

Do you agree?
 

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No.

When I met DH I was still severely emotionally disturbed AND extremely cynical. My husband set out to be the emotional stable ground I had never had, and with that I have moved away from being the person I was, who'd be diagnosed as bipolar now.

Judi
 

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I'm not sure that applies to everyone. For example, my mom seems to be getting more angry and uptight as she ages, and my mil seems to be getting sweeter after years of being kind of mean! Of course, if dementia issues happen, I don't think you can predict what a person will become. All I know is that I hope I am sweet when I get old... I want people to be nice to me when they take care of me! :crackup:
 

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I hope its not. I don't like statistics to define me. I think people have natural tendencies but we are quite able to change our minds. Education and counceling can help us let go of emotional injuries and we can heal. That kind of thinking is too fatalistic for me. I desire to learn and grow, to be aware of my short comings,my assets and be mindful of both. I also believe strongly in the power of prayer. That if I can't seem to move forward I'll bring in the big guns.
 

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I would say both yes and no. I believe, as someone noted, that we have natural tendencies, sort of an average weather pattern as it were. And I believe that some of this is so deep rooted that it will always be there. For example, I am naturally an introvert, and that will never change. However, to some degree we can choose to let these tendencies just play out on auto pilot or choose to learn to manage them at need so as to be more flexible in our responses. Here of course I am talking about ordinary human variations, not pathological states.

On the other hand I also believe that we are shaped by life experiences, again as some of you have noted, and what we encounter through life and how we react to it can either intensify these natural tendencies, or derail them.

I think it may just be that what we are begins to express itself more clearly as we age, as so many things that we were busy about when we were younger and that could mask what we really are at core begin to drop away. It becomes more and more apparent to ourselves and to others if we are relaxed and at ease in our own minds and skins allowing us to mellow and become quieter and kinder, or if we are ill at ease and prickly, becoming increasingly angry or bitter about the way we and our lives have gone.
 

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No, I don't agree at all. I was much more high strung when I was younger and always in a rush. I seem to be mellowing more and more each year.
I completely agree :yes:
 

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No, I know I'm much more relaxed. I'm not sure what I was when I was younger was exactly highstrung...but it really wasn't how/who I wanted to be. I've worked very hard towards the woman I hope to be. Almost 40 and still working on growing up. How's that:)
 

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I believe certain personalities are present but alot of it is 'learned' behaviors that can change. Kinda like a bad habit.
 

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Several decades ago I read that people's character does not change much as they age.

If we are mellow, kind and personable for example, as young adults, we supposedly become even more so as we age. If we are high strung, judgemental and unfriendly, we become more of the same as we get older. In short, we supposedly become the sweet little old______, or crochety old______ whatever, in spades over the decades of our lives depending on how we started out.

Do you agree?
~No I do not agree. Between God's grace in my life, advice and sharing with the people I love, and the mistakes and triumphs in life that make me a wiser, more mature person, I have to say that I think I'm changing every day. I think it's for the better.
I can see how people could come to the conclusion that other people's character remains unchanged since we all have a tendency to stereotype and remember only the little pieces of data about them that brought us to the conclusion that they were ___, ____ or ____. But nobody's complete character can be defined like that.
I try to really think through my opinions about others because I've observed that the labels I apply to others say more about me than they do about them.
This may be a silly example but I'm reminded of "My Fair Lady". The professor continues to treat Eliza like a street urchin because of his first impression of her. Even after she transforms into a Lady in front of his eyes she has to actually tell him to treat her as the person she's become, not the person she was. ~
 

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I don't think our personalities are ever a straight line path from point A to point B in our lives, much less a straight path from the cradle to the grave.

I've seen people who were "cry-ers" or "whiners" as children who grew up to be fun loving, fast and loose teenagers and twenty somethings, and swung back to a less easy going, more uptight personality through raising kids.

But.. I do think some of the very basic outlooks a person has, can and do affect how they mature.

There are a lot of bumps in the road of life, and whereas a person with a generally "sunny" outlook will see these as unpleasant, but temporary... or even come to value themselves based on their ability to "always overcome adversity"!
Another person with a more negative outlook can tend to get a " why does bad stuff always happen to ME?" or " I just can't win, no matter how hard I try!" attitude.

Sometimes..it rains on your beautiful outdoor party. And whether you end up laughing with your friends as you're running to save the dinner, or end up crying in the bathroom alone is going to have a big impact on what your memories of your life are like when you're older.

And I think that what an individual sees as the "way life generally is" to a large extent decides how they behave.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I so appreciate you all sharing your thoughts on this. I agree with all of the above.

IMHO, there are just a few things, whether by nature or nurture, I've noticed not changing much as people age. For example: 1) Those who are either anvil or hammer tend to not change. 2) Pessimists and optimists may modify but don't switch. 3) Type A personalities and procrastinators tend to also stay the same. Whether these personalities hold their own or get more so as they age, I don't honestly know.

For myself, at 63 yo, I can say that I've had to reinvent myself more than once to keep peace in the family once the children married and I had daughters in law to answer to.

To live is to learn and grow. To grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. It's our choice to embrace that or resist.

All that having been said, I know of many members of my and DH's family, who in their later years became a magnification of what/who they were in their 30's. It made me wonder if there even is a norm at all. With the incredible diversity on this board, I knew that more answers than questions would present themselves.
 

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While there are certain personality traits that seem to be person's bent all through life, people certainly have free will to change some things.

For example, I've always been interested in many things, and pursuing those interests. I used to do it intensely; now I do it in a more mellow way.
 
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Yeah, people change. I am prime example of that. I used to be way more uptight and hyper. As the years pass, I am less uptight and more relaxed.
:yeah: I am the same. I used to be an anxiety attack waiting to happen, (and it did sometimes). I had a lot of shoulda's, woulda's coulda's going on in my head. Worried about what people thought (even though I denied it), felt a lot of guilt for no reason, just wasn't comfortable in my own skin.

I finally hit a wall about that stuff. Just couldn't handle it anymore. Sat down and asked myself 'why am I like this? What's the worst that could happen in a given situation? Is it worth all of this misery? '

Now, I am calmer, serene even. I sleep better, I don't try to manage everything, instead letting the 'play go on" and play itself out without my tampering with it. I have simplified a lot, in terms of whall I want in my life. If it stresses me out, it's gone.
 
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Nope, I don't agree.

I had a hair trigger temper when I was young, now I don't. But, even with a hair trigger temper I tended to let people walk over me...and now I don't. I believe that people become what they want to be.
 
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