Change is the only constant in a life filled with uncertainties and unpredictability. Throughout our lives, we are constantly changing, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The cycle of life denotes the different stages of a person's growth from childhood, beginnings, mastery, and retirement.
Appreciating the cycle of life;
- Helps you evaluate the progress you have made in your life so far
- Enables you to know yourself better
- Helps you to make peace with your past actions
- Allows you to evaluate your progress against your current life stage
- Is a great tool for planning the future
However, you must not forget that age is subjective and people hit development stages at different points in their lives. Just because you are starting a particular stage late in life does not make you a failure. It is your life and at the end of the day, you are responsible for everything that happens in it.
Childhood is the first stage of life for all humans. It starts with birth, infancy, and then adolescence. At the early stages of childhood, we are totally dependent on our parents for our wellbeing. A baby cannot do anything without help.
This stage is critical for a person's early-stage development. Among other things, we form our relationship attachment style here. Neglect during childhood may lead to issues later on.
Education is a big part of childhood development. Children pick up social skills from their parents/guardians. It is also during childhood that we are taught how to think, talk, and act.
But childhood is meant to prepare one for the 'real' life as an independent adult. By late adolescence, most people will have figured out their desired career path. Today, the first few years of adulthood are typically spent in acquiring a university or college education.
The beginnings stage heralds a period in a person's life when one starts to live independently. Young adults claim their independence by dismissing childhood beliefs that no longer serve them. They replace them with their own ideals that match their outlook in life. A person will form many of the beliefs that take them through life in their beginnings stage.
In the beginnings stage, the biggest concern is self-discovery and living life to the fullest. Young people pursue adventure and novel experiences, careful not to waste their "youth". As a necessity, people in the beginnings phase make mistakes quick and learn from them just as quickly.
But matters like career development are also important to beginners. A lot of self-examination and self-searching goes into it at this stage. Beginners' education entails on-the-job training, internships, or further education. In the early years, beginners tend to occupy the lowest levels at the workplace but rise up the ranks as mature workers leave the workforce.
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The mastery stage is the most productive period of a person's life. This is the glorious stage of your life when you finally start to reap the fruits of your lifelong efforts. As such, mastery is attributed to increasing acclaim and monetary rewards. Masters tend to be the best in their fields.
A select few are now running the very companies they used to work for as CEOs, CFOs, VPs, and all those other abbreviated workplace titles. Basically, Masters run the world. These are the people who can effect much change in the world around them because they have accumulated the resources and the skills they need.
As the most productive stage of a person's life, the focus of this stage is the continued sustenance of the system. Even away from the workplace, masters cannot escape responsibility. They are the mothers and fathers who bring and sustain new life in the world.
Wisdom or Retirement
In the last decade or so of active productivity, Masters start thinking of retirement. If handled well, this stage can be a great opportunity for skills transfer. Because they are the best at what they do, masters are supposed to mentor others to take up their place. At this point, writing a book about your journey becomes so much more sensible. A way to preserve your knowledge and pass on your skills.
A better name for the last stage of life might have been legacy as this becomes the singular obsession of many retirees before and during their retirement. A good legacy comes from an effective transfer of knowledge, as this makes it possible for a Master's work to continue even after they are gone.
In their personal lives, retirees tend to be more concerned with family continuity. By now, their children will be grown adults with their own children. Spending time with children gives older people the chance to ensure the transfer of family knowledge and secrets onto the next generation.