U smile. Justin Bieber’s anthem on the infectiousness of infatuation. Both people are smiling for the same reason but doing so each in their unique way.
Likewise, we all have a unique response to Life Stages. Some guys don’t move out of their parents basement until they are 32 years old (because their parents sold the house). Then there are the girls who get kicked out of the house when they get pregnant at 18 years old.
So there can be confusion. For the young woman she will be a mother by the time she is 19 years old yet she is barely entering the adult stage. The maternal role can be forced on a woman quite early so she finds herself late at night panicked by her baby that doesn’t stop crying. That same night her teenaged friends are posting on instagram from an awesome party with no worries about motherhood. Then again a 38 year old woman can yearn for years until pregnancy magically arrives. Both are valid expressions of Maternal life of a woman. Hopefully they are accompanied by an equally valid expression of a Paternal life from the man, the father.
Just take a look at The Bieber himself. His Professional Life ignited at 13 years old when he was discovered in Stratford, Ontario by music promoter Scooter Braun. Considering his age he handled himself with aplomb. His response to the call to come into his own as an adult has been well documented on social media. He mixes a double hydrogen dose of humility with the oxygen of confidence giving life to his broad range of talents. His emergence from a boy into a man has been a struggle just like it is for you and me.
Life Stages aren’t the same as Life Roles. Life Stages are the development episodes of life from radiant newborn to marvellous infant and quickly into curious child. The child lurches towards adolescence when, as teenagers, we battle with the intensity of youth. The intensity of youth is almost smothered by the responsibility felt by the adult life. Then the (in)famous midlife: what will the midlife crisis reveal? As if emerging from a pressure chamber we appear as an elder.
The Life Roles of Maternal/Paternal, Professional and Romantic are addressed in another chapter. These Roles are another world unto themselves that we have to manage at the same time as grow and develop. By no means are Life Stages the same as the various parenting tasks or marriage realities. Regardless if you have a life partner, get married or have children you will be processed by these Life Stages all the same way.
Having children, while its impact is undeniable, does not make any Life Stage more difficult unto itself. Anyone will have less time and energy to think about where they are on the metamorphosis of maturity if you have 3 children under the age of 5. Inevitably your sense of Satisfaction or Fulfillment will be complicated by the moment to moment experience of your life partner in their current Life Stage.
Being single means you have the freedom to complicate your own life. And as quickly simplify it. A 45 year old man married for 23 years and a single man of the same age can equally draw anxiety or Satisfaction from their Life Stage. They will rationalize the negative or positive of their life through the range of events with people, emotions and emotional baggage in their life.
The three Life Stages are: Youth, Adult and Elder. They are ready with experiences and uncertainty. Hey, are we going to find love and all the healing that comes with that?
Each stage has its function: Youth is to gorge on experience and program you for the challenges to come; Being in the Adult role is to apply your personal algorithms to life so that you can actually grow and not feel left behind. Elder is to beacon into the generations that follow from your inner core the path forward. Elders offering settlement and belief is crucial for the people in mid-life who are stressing with payments and relationships and the undercurrent of meaning or purpose.
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You are responsible for you in all Life Stages – You are accountable for your actions. You are the generator of your own emotions. Nobody has control over you. No matter how much you get frustrated and angry because you don’t understand your wife. No matter how confused you get about what you want and why. No matter how bad you think you look. For everyone the stages of life cause us to feel out of sorts So it is good to partner with whatever will outlive your current stage in life. Of course one candidate for partnership is your ego that will never leave your side until your dying day. Another potential partner is your soul. Unlike the ego, the soul is true to your growth as a person and a human.
Taking responsibility for our Emotions is a fabulous personal development step to offer our life partner. You can be right. You might be wrong. You probably forget. We all do. What is the challenge is to be accountable for our words and actions. More to the point is to understand the ripples and waves that we can cause in others. Ripples of amusement or frustration; waves of love and appreciation.
Please Remember: Your soul will never leave you, it is always true to your Satisfaction and Fulfillment.
Mind Sprouts: About mid-life – it is a natural stage lasting a decade or so and unto itself does not come prepackaged with a crisis. We create the crisis. When we can’t find a purpose we create drama. Welcome to your crisis. If you are 45 years old then it gets labelled as your midlife crisis. We all do dumb, or spontaneous or silly or regrettable things at different stages of life. No doubt you have seen, or been the guy with the sporty yellow convertible that is a man cave on wheels.
Mid life is a re-orientation. The crisis comes from lacking orientation before getting to mid life. So it makes a lot of sense if you feel unoriented and fall into panic because something is lacking in life …. there is an elusive Satisfaction at some level …
Previous to mid life we were growing as a preponderance. Somewhere around mid life, growing gets accompanied by the development of our Higher Soul response to life. Whether we are aware of it or not. Our body and soul are expecting us to answer a calling or a nudge for a Devotional life. A Devotional life can yank us out of any mid life potholes. A life with purpose can transcend some or all of the weight of depression.
Believe it or Not: Who you marry is not who you divorce. What? Yes it is the same person but not the same woman. The person you are divorcing is not the woman who said yes to ‘Will you marry me?’. Here there is zero (0) room for blame. If someone refuses to let themselves be urged by the Human Soul into the man they are meant to be then they end up changing without growing. We all change. We always change. That’s the force of the trajectory of Life Stages The conflict comes when we don’t keep up with the change by accompanying inevitable change with personal growth. Grasp the difference between change and growth. Change is the same person in different clothes. Growth is you with new power that you learn to connect to. Growth is you learning that loving yourself is at the same time simple yet weird and beautiful. Growth is keeping up with the moving sidewalk that is the process of Life Stages.
You decide. Daily. You can stagnate. Or you can Grow. Leading yourself to developing your Personal Religious Life. Think Transcendence. Think My Best Ego.
Know this: What you want and the Life Stage you find yourself in are distinct. They can seem to be aligned to the same goal of your happiness and success. They can also be adversarial. As a means to not have your life direction usurped by the demands of any Life Stage yet at the same time not running away from the reality of where you are now, it is useful to decide what you want. It’s a lifelong process to repeatedly declare and refine what you want then follow through with action. Decide and communicate what you want as a: spouse, man/woman, parent, human. Have the humility, agility and confidence to provide constancy in their pursuit.
Nothing Personal. Satisfaction is you getting to your limit of deriving value from the experience. Sometimes we never can get enough: think of sports, drinking, gossip, shopping.
Life stages finish according to their schedules regardless if you were the best or the worst at that stage. Regardless if you did what you said you were going to do. Regardless if your wife knows that you really do love her for who she is.
Read – Erik Erikson, the German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst is known for his theory of psychosocial development. In The 8 Stages of Human Development there are very useful ‘conflicts’ that are highlighted that help us grasp what each stage is asking of us as we move through life. Themes like Intimacy versus Isolation and Generativity versus Stagnation are two that seem to apply well to a man’s need for Satisfaction and a woman’s need for Fulfillment.
The following link provides a brief overview of this theory as well as some good references for further research: https://www.halffullnotempty.com/eriksons-8-stages/
Nature analogy The opportunity to see our reflection in nature with respect to Life Stages is abundant: The seed is a magical germination, the roots are reaching out for minerals, sprouts break through the earth with focus, the trunk surges towards a life giving sun, a blossoming of colour and fragrance accompanied by a fruit carrying the seed of the next generation.
Photo by Kendall Young on Unsplash
Question: Can you discern how the Life Stage you are growing in impacts your decision making?
If you have a few minutes take a look at a relevant post.