Welcome to our ADULT LIFE DECISIONS Series. These posts are about the adults in the lives of children because children deserve caring, healthy adults taking care of them. It is designed to help adults become more aware of their own potential as they strive to make the best lives possible for themselves and their children. Each posting will explore life decisions adults are faced with and how they can update those decisions to be sure they are helpful to them in their current life circumstances. 


When you were a child, as you grew, you had to figure things out about yourself, others, and the world around you. Just a few examples:
  • Could you expect to be cared for?
  • What power did you have?
  • What skills would you master?
  • How would you get along with others?
Did you know that you are constantly making these same kinds of life decisions throughout your adult life? In other words, adults continually recycle – a different kind of recycling – psychological and social recycling.
Psychological/social recycling means revisiting decisions we have made earlier in our lives – sometimes decisions made as very young children. It is a hopeful, positive experience because it can keep adults from getting stuck in old behaviors and beliefs that don’t work well for them as their lives change.
Psychological/social recycling as adults is not regressing back to childhood. Instead, when adults recycle life decisions they bring their adult experiences, wisdom, maturity, and grown-up power to those life decisions and hopefully make new or reinforce old decisions that are helpful in their here-and now, modern day lives.
Example:  A person decides as a school-age child that she is no good at mathematics or problem-solving. Have you ever heard a child say, “I can do the number problems, but I just don’t get word problems.”   Through the recycling process, time and time again when people are faced with problem-solving challenges, they can take that opportunity to either make new, more effective decisions about their ability to do problem-solving at this time in their life or to take steps to learn to do better problem-solving going forward. What might have caused the recycling in this example? Perhaps something at their work became computerized and was challenging to them. Perhaps they are faced with living on their own for the first time and can’t depend on someone else to do their finances.
When adults understand that this process naturally occurs, they can be on the lookout for the opportunities it presents – opportunities to update their life decisions to be helpful in their current life circumstances.
Next week’s blog will discuss the types of life decisions that adults recycle.


This posting is inspired by and adapted from Jean Illsley Clarke’s copyrighted books. Do not distribute or duplicate without permission.


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