Stacy* and I met with each other in her office on a Friday morning in February. She owns a small, quaint flower shop in a city about an hour south of Houston. Her shop, which has been in her family for almost a hundred years, had not yet opened for business that day. While Stacy prepared herself for our interview, I occupied myself by admiring the thick piles of paper on her work desk. She had invoices, emails, check stubs and letters of appreciation covering the surface entirely. Empty and half-full coffee mugs were placed strategically about the room in places ranging from the printer, to the floor, and I even spotted one six feet above the ground on top of the dark, wooden cabinetry that hovered above her desk.
I hadn’t seen Stacy since around January of last year, when I volunteered to help out in her shop, so we spent a little time catching up. She and I talked about the weather, I asked her about her week, and I gave her some background information on my project. I provided her with an overview of the kinds of questions I’d be asking and made sure that she’d be comfortable answering them. I formulated questions based on the subjects that I anticipated writing about, and asked her to expand on any experiences or subjects that she felt were unique or important to her development. She agreed to try her best when responding to them, and soon after we began the interview.
At about five foot four inches high, Stacy is an averaged-sized Caucasian woman. She has light brown hair with blonde highlights, bright hazel eyes, and a light olive skin tone. In August, she turned forty seven, and she told me she was looking forward to her birthday this summer. To her, age is really just a number, and she is just happy to have an excuse for her family to get together. She has two daughters, both of which are in college, and a husband, Nate, of whom she will be celebrating her twenty-sixth marriage anniversary with in July. Her father, Howard, died in September of 2006 and her elderly mother, Christa, may not be far behind, she said jokingly.
Of all the changes she has endured throughout her adulthood, Stacy claims that her personality has changed the most. Personality is mostly made up of traits, which are “enduring patterns of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors” (Magee, Miller, and Heaven, 2013). Although personality was once believed to be a relatively permanent feature of the self, research has shown that, throughout the lifetime, one’s character can evolve (Specht, Egloff, and Schmukle, 2011 and Turiano et al., 2012). This change in character is referred to intra-individual variability (Bjorklund, 2011).
Stacy mentioned that, contrary to her twenties, she has become more confident and less worried. In a recent study, it was found that people experience an increase in self-confidence, self-control, and emotional stability as they age (Roberts and Mroczek, 2011). Some researchers believe that these changes are due to intrinsic maturation, which is...