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Ben Sparks

Professor Cyndy Sheibe

Developmental Psychology

11 December 2011

                                  Interview with Richard Hurley

       Richard Hurley, or Dick as his close friends and family call him, is a 57-year-old dad and

was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His occupation is a veterinarian and he is the father of my

friend and hall mate, Bill Hurley. The first thing he said when I asked at what point did he feel

like an adult and why he answered, “What if I’ve never felt like an adult?!” It is clear from the

beginning of the interview Richard has remained a child at heart and with it, an optimistic

youthful attitude. He says he doesn’t know what it’s like being an adult, but if he had to put a

date on it, it would be when had his first child and realized he would have to start taking care of

someone other than himself. Overall, it’s a funny feeling being an adult he says. This relates to

the concept of generativity and his desire to pro create and guide the next generation into the

future. He later describes his most important accomplishment to be his children, but he really has

no idea how they turned out so well. He certainly wouldn’t be taking the blame if they turned out

to be drug addicts but since they turned out okay he’ll happily take the credit.

       Right now he says the most difficult thing about being his age is just that, his age. He

struggles with being tired and having less energy for physical activity, as well as health concerns.

He gets tired easily as well as getting sore. However, the best part about being 57 is that he is just

“cruisin’ right along.” His profession will likely not change and he’s made all the right decisions

to get him where he is now, and he is very happy with that. He just opened a business but does

not anticipate that being a new challenge, rather he is looking forward to retiring from being a
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vet and only having one job. As he looks to the future, his biggest concern is mostly just health

problems and the fact that he is going to more funerals than weddings. He believes that is a

pretty good sign of aging when you see more friends and family being buried than being wed.

       He has never gone through any sort of mid-life crisis but has always rather been content

with the way his life turned out and never experienced any sort of instinctual desire to break free.

His concept of age identity is that he’s always felt he was a little behind; what most people were

doing in their twenties he was doing in his thirties. However, he also felt that age should never

dictate how one should act or behave. He believed that experience was what determined how one

thought and conducted himself, and experience can come in a wide range of ages and older does

not necessarily mean wiser.

       In terms of the most challenging time of his life, he could not really pinpoint one specific

moment. He had his professional challenges, of course, and then the natural hardships of raising

children, but nothing particular came to mind. He would certainly be an advocate of the

contemporary life-events approach because he truly believes that experience is what shapes a

person rather than simple biological age. Life events influence one’s individual development and

the way one reacts to certain events, given the socio-historical and economic context, and can

greatly shape one’s personality and affect the brain’s state of mind. Events like getting married,

having children, and starting a new job are all examples of experiences that have changed

Richard and helped him grow as a person.

       When asked how he thinks his life would have been different if he was a girl, he says he

would rather be dead! He can’t imagine being a girl, woman, or female and he knows he would

not have kids because he couldn’t handle the pain.
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       As was a common theme, Richard did not have an incident in his life that he would call

his biggest regret. His philosophy is that there is no sense having any regret because everything

turned out very well for him; there is no way of knowing if different choices would lead to

something better or worse, but he doesn’t care because he is completely satisfied with the way

everything turned. He messed around a lot as a kid and probably could have applied himself

more than he did but then he might not have met his wife or had his kids. He does understand

that there is more pressure on emerging adults to not mess up in any huge way because they have

so much life ahead of them and don’t want to screw up. He, however, has more years behind

than ahead and so does not feel the pressure anymore to not make mistakes and do everything

perfectly.

       When asked how creativity showed up in his life he responded with the answer that he is

mostly creative in his problem solving, something he needs to be for his profession. He likes to

do research and discover new things, a definite sign of an imaginative person; he also says he

fills out his taxes in a very creative way!

       The words of advice he had to offer were ones that everyone hears but might not really

listen to: be yourself. You are the only person who is going to be with you your whole life and

you should never betray yourself by acting like someone else. You have to be comfortable in

your own skin or you simply will not enjoy life and be happy, which is ninety percent of the

game he claims.

       In relation to my own philosophy, I could not help but see a lot of similarities to my own

father as well as my own beliefs. Living life with no regrets and being comfortable with who you

are both very important values to have and I share them with Dr. Hurley. His sense of humor

certainly had not faded and I hope mine does not either. I am sure if I was 57 year-old and an 18-
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year-old interviewed me with these questions, my answers would be very similar. I greatly envy

his overall contentment with his life, decisions, and career and I hope I end up the same way.

Other than me being considerably more adept at using technology, and his few references to

someone named Al Bundy, I did not notice any extreme differences between cohorts, at least in

terms of value. I do not believe that people’s values change over time, only the environment and

technology that is available.

				
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