The Aging Self: A Narrative Analysis on Generational Lesson Sharing and Embodiment Expressions of Older Adults


  • Vanessa Geitz University of Waterloo



embodiment, aging, generational, identity expression, storytelling, life course


This qualitative study captures individual aging experiences, gaining insight into how older adults understand aging bodies and express age. Three main research questions were developed to respond to that inquiry: (1) How do older adults embody aging? (2) What life lessons are embedded in these expressions of age? And (3) What life lessons are beneficial for younger generations to know for their own aging experiences? The study employed a secondary data analysis of semi-structured interviews, initially completed without restrictions on age, identity, or experience for participant inclusion. Results were analyzed using NVivo software with a constructive narrative analysis focus. Narratives were grouped into three categories based on the time frame central to the interview: past, present, or future. Emerging narratives included being a student, worker, partner in marriage, parent, retiree, and immigrant. The findings demonstrate how different embodiment experiences emerge through reflective narrative construction and influenced lessons shared. These conclusions contribute to understanding how choices and experiences at different stages in the life course can influence the aging experience and how it is projected. Ultimately, the findings emphasize the role that the self and body hold on identity and self-expression for older adults.