(Response to essay: "The Virtues of Growing Older" by Carol Siskin (The Longman Reader p.343-347)]
There Are Plusses to Aging
In her essay, “The Virtues of Growing Older,” Carol Siskin analyzes the downside of being young, and the plusses of being old. Using examples from her own experiences, she compares and contrasts these two stages of life. She discusses three main topics: appearance, life choices, and self-concept. At the point I am in my life, I have begun to realize what Siskin is talking about.
As for appearance, I have become comfortable with my body, and I tend toward comfort over fashion. Meanwhile, I have two younger sisters who recently started high school. They are at the stage that Siskin mentions about adolescents: obsessing over their appearances and trying to “fit in." Being the antithesis to that are my parents. Content with themselves, they enjoy fashion and exercise, but are no longer slaves to style.
The second subject Siskin brings up is making critical decisions about one’s life. As an adolescent, major decisions that can affect the rest of your life are around every corner. I thought picking out a job and a college was hard enough. My parents, who are now in their forties, have gone through school and various jobs. They have gotten married. They have had kids. Yes, they will have more choices to make in their lifetimes, but they have already confronted many of the critical decisions bombarding those who are just starting out.
Thirdly, Siskin mentions the notion of self-concept. She talks about “the uncertainty you feel about your values, goals, dreams” as an adolescent and trying to figure out just who you are. Likewise, my sisters and I are still discovering ourselves and our responsibility to become and love ourselves. My parents, on the other hand, know who they are. Content with themselves, they are happier than they have ever been.
In the end, I...
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