Changing Aspirations of Different Age Group Case Study


Aging for human beings is one of the processes that lead to the loss of physical and cognitive functions of the body. It is a physiological process that influences psychological as well as behavioral factors thereby affecting social and economic wellbeing of an individual. Different age groups of people have different aspirations mainly due to the difference in people’s goals, ambitions, and expectations set the basis for their daily activities, life choices, and the mode of interpersonal communication.

Aspirations can be defined as the strong desire to achieve or acquire something that will play a great role in the fulfillment of one’s life. Aspirations may be vague, but there are common aspirations that count for each and every individual (Bowling, 2007). In men, some of these aspirations include education, financial as well as familial achievements. Aspiration may also encompass different goals, ambitions as well as dreams. The ability of an individual to identify and establish their valid aspirations depends on a multitude of factors. Inspiration and motivation factors for different individuals are distinct and relate uniquely to the persons. In addition, the goals tend to change drastically with the age of the individual.

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Changes in life may affect the development of aspirations

The occurrence of individual desires can be explained by the theory of circumscription as well as the theory of compromise. There are four factors that can be identified in relation to the development of aspirations from early adulthood progressing into adulthood.

The first stage is cognitive growth that allows the person to develop intuitive thinking. This stage enables the person to classify people into either the powerful or the weak. From this moment, the person identifies with what sort of character to emulate.

The second stage is that the individual is oriented in terms of who to emulate and who not. At this age, the aspirations become more concrete, and individuals can clearly ascertain if the roles are feminine or masculine. Here, the person has the already set features of the kind of aspirations that they want for their lives.

The third step in the advancement of aspirations is what is known as the level of circumscription. In this step, the individual progressively eliminates the least attractive options and adopts the options that are more appealing. It is at this level that young adults identify the occupational choices that they wish to explore. Teenagers should be guided at this stage to protect them from making wrong decisions because wrong choices made at this state may adversely affect the lifetime of the adult, which may lead to regrets later. At this stage, people also tend to ignore various occupations that would in other terms be important in their lives (Bowling, 2007).

The final step in the development is the stage, at which the individual considers the aspiration that would be more fulfilling in their lives. This is the stage when individuals accept the challenges that they may encounter in the pursuit of their goals and dreams. As such, the individual has the capability of altering the decisions that they make in this case. Although the aspirations and the desires involve personal goals and dreams, there are numerous effects that may affect decision making. For instance, the socio-economic status may affect the individual’s aspirations (Stutzer, 2004). People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have a wider gap in the development of aspirations.

To study the variation in the understanding of the concepts of aging the case studies of the three age groups should be considered. To enhance the understanding of how people of different ages perceive the self and interpersonal communication, this paper is aimed to compare and contrast the answers of diverse age groups regarding their priorities, daily activities, and regrets. The findings assert that it is not surprising that personal evolvement is closely connected with one’s age since the views and aspirations greatly vary during the lifespan. This study incorporates three individuals of different age groups. A study on their aspirations upon aging reveals different expectations, motivations, aspirations as well as regrets in life. Different people have different goals, ambitions, and expectations set the basis for their daily activities, life choices, and the mode of interpersonal communication. As a result, humans’ mental and emotional intelligence is in a constant process of change, which is inevitably reflected in their self-development and way of life. Interviews were carried out among three men aged 19, 39 and 59 respectively.


John Gomez

At the age of 19 years, John Gomez is a single, college student. Gomez is unemployed and lives with a friend. From the interview, the main life priorities are to enjoy his youth and at the same time ensure that he secures his education. At his age, he has sets goals of building a fruitful career. He believes that securing a career is the top priority in his life. The goals of a family are not yet vivid, but he believes that at some point in life, he will establish a family life. The major focus at this age is education. He believes that education will pave the way to his career goal; thus, it is also the major priority. His aspirations for the future are not yet clear as he first aims to secure a good career, after which he will shape his life. At this point in life, the main regret is that he did not make the right choice to study for his dream career. In regard to his personal life, he regrets that he spends much of his money on having fun with friends. John hopes that he can spend his money more wisely in future. He also regrets that instead of taking his education more seriously, he spends his time on entertainment activities.

Adam Smith

At the age of 37 years old, Smith is a single man; he has no kids, leaves alone, and owns a home. At this point, he stated that his main priorities will be establishing a family. The second priority will be to focus on the career so that he could make more money to support the family. He has already accomplished his education goals and is not willing to advance more in education. He has set goals for his future in that he claims he needs to establish a family life as soon as possible. He has great aspirations for his future in terms of career and the family. His main regret is that he overspends his money entertaining with friends. He also regrets that he did not establish a family when he was younger. He hopes to develop a sending pan to help him save more for the family prospects. He also expects to develop more investment plans to make sure that he earns enough for him and the aspiring family. In addition, Adam regrets that he wastes much of his time on entertainment joints, which would be an opportune time to spend with family.

James Cole

Cole is 59 years old; he is married and lives with his wife, and they have four biological children. Among his most important life priorities, there spending time and providing support to his family. He does not have a major prospect for his career as he at the retirement age. He is interested in making investments with the money that he has saved because he does not have any other source of income.

Age Variation

John Gomez is 19, Adam Smith is 37, and James Cole is 59 years old. Age is an imperative factor in regard to defining the aspirations of individuals in life. Aspiration is a dynamic process that develops within the influenced context of people’s lives. Although age is a determinant fact, other factors include the expectations of the society, personal beliefs as well as the available opportunities and constraints.

In life, there are two main aspirations:

  • The first one is that individuals expect to achieve various goals in life.
  • The second one is the one that is referred to as hopes and dreams.

As a person progresses in age, the aspirations change.

For instance, it can be seen that the various individuals have different achievements; at the same time, it is evident that their hopes and dreams have changed with time. For instance, Gomez, the youngest of the group, is the individual with the highest aspirations. This is explained by the fact that he is still young and he has not yet started acquiring his achievements. Further, Smith who is in the middle age is at the optimum point of acquisition of the achievements.

At this age, he has encountered the factors of reality, and, therefore, he has defined his life in terms of what is achievable and what is not achievable. As a result, he expects to put more efforts so as to make sure that he acquires what he aspires as achievable. On the other edge, there is Cole who represents the aged people. At his age, Cole has already established his achievement, and, therefore, his dreams and hopes are limited. He has already encountered all the factors that could have led to success or failure of his dreams; thus, there is nothing more that he can do to make his dream achievable. Therefore, age can be taken as an asset that depreciates over time. An individual is supposed to take advantage of the time to make his or her dreams achievable before the time elapses. The first aspirations, which can be referred to as the people’s expectations, are a component of reality.
Achievement of the accomplishments brings about satisfaction that makes the individual enjoy the gratification feeling that he or she has acquired what was expected of him. Ina addition, aspirations are not rooted in reality, and, therefore, they can just be dropped when there is no opportunity to achieve them.

Life Priorities

In terms of personal life, the youngest two are single; meanwhile, the oldest man (James) is married and has children. In addition, the middle-aged man (Adam) states that he is ready to create a family. Furthermore, estimating their social life, it becomes clear that a teenager (John) and the middle-aged man (Adam) endeavor to spend as much time as possible with their friends. In contrast, the man of 59 prefers to spend time with his family. There are two major aspirations in life; these are the familial aspirations and the overall happiness. In essence, aspirations are one of the factors that shape the wellbeing of an individual.

Early in the adulthood, men tend to be more interested in fulfilling their personal aspirations. Later in the life, the men tend to be more oriented towards fulfilling the lifelong experiences. This can be seen in the fact that Gomez and Smith tend to be more interested in achieving the overall happiness. On the other hand, Cole has his mind set on achieving the familial accomplishments. The most common domains of life are finances and family. At a younger age, men usually concentrate on chasing for money and making investments so as to secure the lives of their families. The attachment in familial lives occurs after the men have fist accomplished the financial goals. The satisfaction in both the domains occurs as a result of the net balance that has to be established between the attainments and the aspirations (Johnson, Jackson & Gatto, 2005).



In regard to career goals, all three report to be career-oriented, with the emphasis on the value of good education. In addition, they are motivated to achieve financial prosperity with the help of their professional skills. In terms of career, Gomez is in the process of developing his career as this is the most vital aspect of his life. He is more concerned with establishing a career for himself, which means that the matters of education must come first. On the other hand, Smith has already established a career that is stable. At this stage, his major aspiration is to ensure that he establishes a family. The case with the career of Cole is different. He admits that he spent too much time building his career, and now, he is in the process of developing his family. According to his words, his family at this time is the center of his consideration (McDowell, 2000).


The middle-aged man (Adam) states that he is ready to create a family. While estimating the social life of the three men, it becomes clear that the teenager (John) and the middle-aged man (Adam) strive to spend as much time as possible with their friends. In contrast, the man of 59 prefers to spend time with his family. The desire to have a family is different throughout the lifecycle. In young adulthood, men are not aspiring to establish families. As the age advances, the need to establish a family increases and men are more attached to familial values. This is evident from the interview as Gomez does not seem to have developed an interest in the familial matters. Even at 37, Smith is still reluctant to build a family. However, Cole seems to be very conversant with familial matters as he states that family matters are at the center of his concern.


Satisfaction and accomplishments in terms of education achievements also differ in different age groups. Younger men are aimed at accomplishing their education goals earlier in the lifetimes so as to secure careers that can then support themselves later in life. Thus, for them, happiness is derived from achieving the education goals as early as in life as possible. The achievements in education early in life will lead greater aspirations in terms of career. Those who achieve their education goals early in life have the tendency to acquire more in future life. In addition, schools play a major role in the development of a person’s aspirations on. This can be so due to the contributions of the parents. School expands an individual’s horizons and opens up new possibilities thus allowing the person to prosper in various dimensions. As the individual matures, they can be able to acquire more knowledge in matters pertaining to fulfillments in life so that they will end up developing aspiration. On reaching the midlife, the person shifts his or her attention from education to the career and the pursuit of material as well as financial fulfillment. From this point, the person gradually starts developing an interest in terms of familial achievements (Johnson, Jackson & Gatto, 2005). The education factors are not as important when it comes to those who have advanced age unless in special circumstances.

Future Plan

The oldest man reports that he used to sacrifice his family time in favor of his job. Simultaneously, the man of 37 claims that having a well-paid job is a proper remedy for starting a family. At the same time, the youngest man does not report having strong family goals; thus, his career ambitions are not related to fulfilling family needs. In young adulthood, the attainment of material goals and luxurious things is the main concern for men. This urge decreases as men advance in an age, in which they focus more on the familial matters. This also applies to the matters of career. Men are oriented to developing their careers at a younger age. As they progress in age, their orientations change such that they focus more on familial things (Stutzer, 2004).

The satisfaction in terms of finances tends to become concentrated in men at younger ages as compared to the older men. Correspondingly, older men are more satisfied with familial accomplishments than younger men. The source of happiness for these subsets of men tends to be different in terms of age. Younger men will be happier in career achievements while older men will be happier in terms if familial achievements.


The regrets of the youngest men stem from the wrong education/career choices. Simultaneously, the regrets of the 59-years-old male are connected with spending too much time building a career instead of devoting more time to his family (Berg, Hassing, McClearn & Johansson, 2006). With advancing age, the prospects of life change and the individuals realize diverse regrets in their life. For instance, Gomez regrets that he made the wrong choice of profession to study for. He states that the he did not seek the right guidance in making the professional choice of career. On the other hand, Smith regrets the career choice that he made. In the same accord, he regrets about poor spending habits that he and his friends engage in. In contrast, while the younger men are complaining about wrong choices that they made in terms of career, Cole, the older man, regrets that he spent too much time investing in his career. He believes that instead, he should have concentrated more on the establishment of a family.

Aging can be tracked through one’s aspirations, interactions, and motives. In addition, it is connected to mental and emotional evolvement. In particular, working on their education/career and family goals, people increase their self-awareness. As a result, with the time, they become more intent for reflexivity, which helps re-think priorities and daily activities. Comprehending the inevitable process of aging, individuals strive to make their existence safer by constructing careers, families, and saving money for retirement. Along with that, the reduction of life activity is connected with people’s readiness to accept the process of growing with its consequences. In addition, it is possible to suggest that the increased emotional intelligence encourages older people to strengthen their family bonds (Berg et al., 2006). At the same time, social life becomes less important for older humans. In a broader picture, the process of aging resonates with the idea of aligning various activities with the aim to be prepared for chair days. It is the common notion that the balance between the realms of life depends on the net balance between one’s aspirations and the attainments. For instance, happiness in the three characters cannot be compared because all of them are at different cycles in lives (Plagnol, & Easterlin, 2008).

Satisfaction in family life could be achieved as the result of the individual having children along with financial achievements (Bowling, 2007). Therefore, one’s happiness is subject to the factors of satisfaction in both domains, which are material satisfaction as well as the family life. Both the domains should be properly balanced to make sure that none is overlooked or underachieved in terms of the achievement of the aspirations. To successfully achieve these goals, individuals need to make sure that they set their gals in order of their priority. After establishing the goals, individuals need to make sure that they invest enough so as to make their dreams and aspirations come true (Johnson, Jackson & Gatto, 2005).

Early in their lives, men are more likely to fulfill the needs that deal with material aspects. As they progress in age, they tend to be more interested in fulfilling the familial obligations. From the perspective of experience, it is certain that the older men in many cases will have learned more. As such, the younger men ought to learn from the same experiences to ensure that they do not suffer from the same pitfalls that their counterparts suffered (Bowling, 2007). For the ultimate achievement of happiness, the men are supposed to combine different factors to ensure that they do not have regrets later in life.

Other factors that influence the difference between the aspirations of men of different age groups include the likes of family background. This will encompass the socioeconomic class that the individual belongs to. People from different socioeconomic classes have different aspirations in terms of financial and economic requirements. Another factor that affects the development of aspirations in individuals is the aspects of teenage parenthood. Teenagers who are given the appropriate guidance end up having well-developed aspirations as compared to those who do not benefit from appropriate guidance. In most cases, there are parents who develop aspirations for their children. This may affect the possibility of the child’s goals and dreams. Such parents may be over ambitious and may affect the development of their children’s aspirations in a later life. Another thing that may also affect the development of person’s aspirations is ethnicity. This is especially applicable to underprivileged students.


The aspirations of men in different parts in the life cycle of the human being depict that that they are shaped by the individual perceptions of themselves as well as their availability. It is the inner personal beliefs that have the capability to foster the aspirations that cause them to go ahead and develop the aspirations in their lives. Nevertheless, it should be considered that the aspirations tend to change with the age of the individual. As seen in the case of the interviews, younger men tend to be more oriented in achieving material and educational goals. After achieving them, the people then tend to change and orient themselves to achievement of familial goals. This is especially so in older men who seem to be more attached to the familial needs in contrast to their counterparts who are in the younger age bracket.

The achievement of different aspirations by people from different age groups causes the sense of fulfillment and happiness that can only be defined by the particular age groups. This complies with the generalization studies that have been conducted. However, the achievement of happiness and the final fulfillment is the result of the interplay of such as socioeconomic status, availability of opportunities and social background, as well as the level of education of the individual.

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