The Life Maps

The Life Maps

A Chapter by Debbie Barry

An essay about adult life choices and development. Written for PSY 202: Adult Development and Life Assessment.


The Life Maps

October 27, 2009


In creating the five maps, I considered aspects of adult life that I had not considered or that I had taken for granted before this point.  I have known for some time that life is a series of changes or cycles, but working on Map 1 showed me a clear pattern for these changes, and presented me with a phase called cocooning which I had not previously recognized in the changes which make up my life (Hudson and McLean, 2006).

Map 2 challenged me to identify the passions that are important at this stage of my life, and to consider which passions I may expect to embrace as I move through middle age into my elder years.  In this process, I realized that my development has been retarded in some ways, and that I am experiencing in my middle years some passions that I think most adults experience much earlier in life.

Map 3 made me look at the five major adult roles, and how I distribute my time and energy among those roles.  I realized that I spend far more time and energy between family and work/school roles than I spend on personal or couple roles, and also that this discrepancy has been reducing over the past year.  Map 3 also made me consider how my commitments to the various roles in my life are likely to change in the future.

Examining the adult life cycle in Map 4 reinforced for me the fact that "[t]rue maturity is based upon... experience, not... your chronological age" (Hudson and McLean, 2006, 88-89).  It made me look back at the cycle of changes from map 1, and to consider that the stages of adult life that are illustrated in Hudson and McLean (2006, 89) are a series of transitions.  It also made me consider anew the reality that "dying is the final stage of living" (Hudson and McLean, 2006, 104), rather than something apart from life.

Map 5 was particularly pertinent to my current life, since I returned to formal schooling in my middle years, when "[a]dult learning is most frequently related to experiential concerns, not to formal instruction" (Hudson and McLean, 2006, 109). I have always believed that learning is a lifelong activity, and it was no surprise to me to read about experiential learning, nor was it a surprise to read about the need to unlearn previous knowledge in order to learn new information.

Creating the five life maps did not help me in writing my paper, as I had already written my paper before I created them.  I did, however, go back to my rough draft before I submitted it and added some thoughts from map 1 to my paper, which focused on life as a series of changes.

© 2017 Debbie Barry

Author's Note

Debbie Barry
Initial reactions and constructive criticism appreciated.

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Added on November 10, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017
Tags: essay, psychology, adult development, life map

A Journey through My College Papers


Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI

I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..