Compare your life to the life of someone at least ten years older than you are now. You will be asking this person questions about specific aspects of his or her life when he or she was your age, and you will compare and contrast those aspects.
For this second formal writing assignment, I would like you to write a comparison / contrast essay in which you compare your life to the life of someone at least ten years older than you are now. You will be asking this person questions about specific aspects of his or her life when he or she was your age, and you will compare and contrast those aspects.
The first step will be to choose a person. This person should be at least ten (10) years older than you are right now. The larger the age difference, the more interesting your results will be. For this reason, you might consider a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, co-worker, or friend’s parent.
Before you actually sit down to have a conversation with this person, please consider the points you want to investigate. These should be very specific points – for example, you might consider discussing education, relationships, children, hobbies, challenges, interests, etc.
Choose at least two and not more than four specific points to discuss with this person. You will be discovering what these aspects of this person’s life were like when this person was your age.
For example: Let us say you have decided to talk to your grandmother about relationships, education, and life challenges. If you are currently twenty (20) years old, you will ask your grandmother about her relationships, education, and challenges when she was also twenty (20) years old. Then, you will write a comparison / contrast essay about your life and this other person’s life at your age in which you compare (look for similarities), contrast (look for differences), or both.
You may write this essay in point-by-point format or subject-by-subject format but remember that each format has its own advantages and disadvantages. Stay as organized as possible and address the points in the same order for each subject.
Point-by-point Point A, Subject 1 Subject-by-subject Subject 1, Point A
Point A, Subject 2 Subject 1, Point B
Point B, Subject 1 Subject 1, Point C
Point B, Subject 2 Subject 2, Point A
Point C, Subject 1 Subject 2, Point B
Point C, Subject 2 Subject 2, Point C
As always, this will be a formal essay, and it should be in standard essay format. You should include proper paper format, a creative title, an introduction, a thesis statement, at least two (2) body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Pay careful attention to topic sentences!
At age 52, Bridget Fisher became a first-time grandmother. She worked in human resources (HR) at a scientific research company, a job she’d held for 20 years. She had raised two children, divorced her first husband, remarried, and survived a cancer scare.
Her fast-paced job required her to travel around the country, setting up meetings and conferences. The company did not offer retirement benefits. Bridget had seen many employees put in 10, 15, or 20 years of service only to get laid off when they were considered too old. Because of laws against age discrimination, the company executives were careful to prevent any records from suggesting age as the reason for the layoffs.
Seeking to avoid the crisis she would face if she were laid off, Bridget went into action. She took advantage of the company’s policy to put its employees through college if they continued to work two years past graduation. Completing evening classes in nursing at the local technical school, she became a registered nurse after four years. She worked two more years, then quit her job in HR, and accepted a part-time nursing job at a family clinic. Her new job offered retirement benefits. Bridget no longer had to travel to work and she was able to spend more time with her family and to cultivate new hobbies.
Today, Bridget Fisher, 62, is a wife, mother of two, grandmother of three, part-time nurse, master gardener, and quilt club member. She enjoys golfing and camping with her husband and taking her terriers to the local dog park. She does not expect to retire from the workforce for five or ten more years, and though the government officially considers her a senior citizen, she doesn’t feel old. In fact, while bouncing her grandchild on her knee, Bridget tells her daughter, 38, “I never felt younger.”
Age is not merely a biological function of the number of years one has lived, or of the physiological changes the body goes through during the life course. It is also a product of the social norms and expectations that apply to each stage of life. Age represents the wealth of life experiences that shape whom we become. With medical advancements that prolong human life, old age has taken on a new meaning in societies with the means to provide high-quality medical care. However, many aspects of the aging experience also depend on social class, race, gender, and other social factors.
Think of the movies and television shows you have watched recently. Did any of them feature older actors? What roles did they play? How were these older actors portrayed? Were they cast as main characters in a love story? Grouchy old people? How were older women portrayed? How were older men portrayed?
Many media portrayals of the elderly reflect negative cultural attitudes toward aging. In North America, society tends to glorify youth, associating it with beauty and sexuality. In comedies, the elderly are often associated with grumpiness or hostility. Rarely do the roles of older people convey the fullness of life experienced by seniors—as employees, lovers, or the myriad roles they have in real life. What values does this reflect?
One hindrance to society’s fuller understanding of aging is that people rarely understand it until they reach old age themselves. (As opposed to childhood, for instance, which we can all look back on.) Therefore, myths and assumptions about the elderly and aging are common. Many stereotypes exist surrounding the realities of being an older adult. While individuals often encounter stereotypes associated with race and gender and are thus more likely to think critically about them, many people accept age stereotypes without question (Levy et al. 2002). Each culture has a certain set of expectations and assumptions about aging, all of which are part of our socialization.