Friday, June 26, 2009

Growth Spurts and Working

One of the first topics covered in Chapter 8 is physical growth. I do not recall when I had a growth spurt. I think this is because I was typically among the tallest kids in my class. I have never really had any issues with being tall other than the challenge to find pants that are long enough. There are a lot of tall people in my family and I felt like I was just as “normal” as the rest of my peers. During my senior year of high school I dated a guy that was a little bit shorter than me. He never admitted it but I could tell that he was bothered by the fact that I was taller than him. I could have cared less because I was usually taller than my peers.

In chapter 9 I found the section about part-time employment to be very interesting. I had never thought of part-time work as being problematic for students; however, I think I had mostly thought about students working during the summers. Growing up on the farm I worked during the summers. Depending on the time of year and the urgency of the crops I occasionally worked after school and on weekends during the school year. Typically my time after school was taken up by basketball and volleyball practice and games. I believe I benefited greatly from working during the summers. I think I would have just been extremely lazy had I not worked in the summers between school years. I can see where working excessively during the school year can create problems for students. I think this hold true throughout the college years as well. This above picture was taken one of the summers that I worked on our farm during college.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tobacco, Weddings, Work, and Exercise

Chapter 10 talked about smoking. I have never smoked but I do love tobacco because I grew up on a tobacco farm. The area that I live in produces a lot of tobacco. I realize that it is unhealthy and I do not know why anyone would start smoking when it causes so many health problems. What I love is the heritage of growing tobacco. It is a very labor-intensive crop and I grew up with a strong work ethic. My ideal would be a discovery of a health benefit of tobacco so it could still be produced without people having addictions that are harmful.

Chapter 11 discusses love and marriage, which reminds me of weddings. I was a bridesmaid in two weddings this past May, last weekend I helped my mom photograph a wedding, and I will be attending four more weddings this year. Now I must say that I have never been the girl that spends hours looking for the perfect wedding dress or ring. Not when I was single and not when I was dating someone. I am currently in a relationship that I believe will continue into marriage. Attending all of these weddings has made me notice things I would or would not want for my own wedding. I truly do not want to plan out my wedding because I have not idea when it will be but it is hard not to think about it when it is all around you! The picture is from the first wedding I was in this summer.

I liked the section in Chapter 12 about the meaning of work. In my high school years I was often told that I should be a model because I was so tall. While this is a flattering comment it always made me turn up my nose. I could not see the life fulfill in walking down a runaway and smiling for a camera. Not to mention that high heels and a runway would have been a lethal combination for me! I always wanted a job that would make a difference in someone’s life in addition to being something that I enjoyed doing. When I was pursuing landscape architecture during my first two years of college I wanted to design beautiful landscapes so someone could come home from a long day at work and feel like they would on vacation. I may still incorporate my love of plants one day by pursuing certification in horticulture therapy.

Chapter 13 reinforced my understanding that I should strive to stay healthy throughout my life. My dad has struggled as a borderline diabetic and he had told me many times that it will be easier for me to stay healthy opposed to getting healthy later. In high school I played sports, which kept me in shape. In college I have been much less active. I know I need to make exercising a priority rather than letting it be one of the things that I do not have time for in my day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Memory, Retirement, and Grief

I found the section about the impacts of beliefs about memory aging in Chapter 14 to be very intriguing. I agree that many people, myself included, believe memory declines with age. Often times when I tell a story about forgetting something, the adults around me exclaim, “You are too young to have memory problems”. I truly do have a bad memory. I know I could never be a waitress because I would have to write everything done, which is not feasible when your hands are holding a pile of dirty plates! I also know that my shopping trip will be most successful if I make a list before entering the grocery store. Given my lack of a sharp memory, I sometimes wondered what it would be like to get older and experience a loss of memory. I now know that it seems that part of the “old age” memory loss is due to accepting the memory decline rather than trying to remember more. There may be hope for my memory after all!

Chapter 15 explores retirement and I am looking forward to those days, even though I haven’t started working full time! Many of my family members and other retirees that I know are busier in retirement than they were in their fulltime jobs; however they are doing things that they love. I see retirement as a time to do the things what you enjoy. One of my grandmothers stays busy with a quilting group, travel group, and bridge club. My mom is currently counting down the days to her retirement so she can pursue a painting and photography business (I am helping her design a website: The picture I posted this week is the studio that my mom and dad are building for my mom. She says it is her “retirement home”. I believe she will be much happier when she is spending all day doing something that she loves. I also know that many people are working longer for financial reasons. It is much easier to enjoy retirement when you are financially stable. I know it will be important for me to consider my retirement funds as soon as I have a full time job.

Chapter 16 was about dying and bereavement. I have experienced the loss of family members, my best friends’ family members, and members of my church family. I believe the loss that has affected me and my family the most was the loss of my cousin Dave. He died in a car accident on December 29, 2006. He was 21 years old and would have graduated the following spring. His girlfriend of four years was the driver and she sustained life threatening injuries (she had a full recovery). She was hospitalized throughout the funeral services. I took pictures after the family night and after the funeral when everyone except my family had left. I photographed all of the things and pictures we brought to the funeral home for family night. I also took pictures of the flowers that were sent. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was taking pictures of Dave in a casket but I wanted his girlfriend to have some way to be apart of the funeral services. It didn’t seem fair that she would miss this time of closure. Even though it was incredibly hard, the process of taking pictures gave me a sense of closure. They are still stored on my computer and every now and then I look at them, I cry and then I feel better. Those pictures are a part of how I processed my grief. Had the circumstances been different, there would not have been a need for the pictures and I would have developed a different way to process my grief. I think this shows that processing grief can and will be different for everyone, each time they experience it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sports and Best Friends

In chapter 6 I found the sections about sports to be very interesting. I started playing sports when I was 7 years old. In all of my experiences even through high school my coaches focused more on skill development than winning. Of coarse everybody wants to win but we were encouraged to practice hard and play our best. I don’t remember our records from any of the seasons that I played softball, basketball, or volleyball. If my coaches had been more winning oriented, then I think I would have been more tuned in to our records. I did not play softball in high school but that coach was very much concerned about winning. My friends who played often complained because they did not like the coach.

In chapter 7 the section about quality and consequences of friendships sections made me consider why my three best friends and I grew up with such a special bond. We always had a group of friends and sometimes even other best friends within that group but the four of us were different. We were involved in many different activities together. There was never a time that all four of us were together but various combinations of us rode the same buses to school, were in the same classes, attended the same church, and played on the same sports teams. Three of us attended Virginia Tech so we grew even closer. Now that we are all in different stages of our lives with school, marriage, and children, we try to spend time together. It doesn’t matter what the need is but we are all still there for each other during hard times. I am not sure why we grew the bond that we did but I am very blessed to have such wonderful friends to count on.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Temperament, Memory, and Gender Games

When I was reading about temperament I was surprised to read that research had indicated that there was a correlation between shy preschoolers and having a narrow face. The hypothesis is that genes influence the levels of hormones that affect both facial growth and temperament. I thought this was an odd correlation to make until I realized that I have a narrow face and was a shy kid. One of my best friends was very upset when I would not play at her birthday party because I would not leave my mother’s side. This friend happens to have a rounder face. Interesting huh? In chapter four I was intrigued by the section that described autobiographical memory. I have been able to date some of my memories because they are about my grandfather who passed away when I was three years old. This was the first time I had heard the term autobiographical memory and it makes a lot of sense. Between the time of my grandfather’s death and starting preschool, I do not have any concrete memories that I know took place during that time period. This is because there were no major events for me to link to those memories. I also found the gender stereotype section in chapter five interesting. I have a brother who is three years older than myself. I can remember playing “boy” games with him but I do not remember him playing “girl” games with me. I wonder if our birth order influenced this more than gender stereotypes. I think if I had been older he would have played some “girl” games with me.