Everyone know the stages of life - infancy, childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle-age adulthood and the senior years of adulthood. The transitions are often difficult and we do them each in our individual way. Is there something we can learn from looking back at the stages we have been through? Does the understanding help us live well?
In infancy we are entirely dependent on someone else providing for our needs and well-being. It is not surprising that we develop our sense of trust or lack of during this period of life. For young parents, it is important to know their provision of a caring, well -provided environment for their child is key for development of trust. It is everyone's first understanding of trust in life.
Childhood is a time of exploration and mastery of basis skills. It is where begin to learn the nuances between different people and how to independently navigate among them. Making more choices and control over toys, food and clothes selection as well as learning how to direct play and social interactions. It is when we begin to see that we can accomplish things and take pride in them. For parents, encouragement and guidance are very important to offer the child. We develop a feeling of competence at this stage in life and this is so important later on in order to live well.
Adolescence can be more turbulent since it is when we really develop are sense of self. This sense of self is the bases for living well and later being who we are and accomplishing what we can. We take on many challenges and through feedback we begin to understand our identity as a person. This identity is constantly shaped by our experiences. Education, sports and travel can play important roles in making our identities well-rounded.
Early adulthood is all about relationships and personal relationships we can develop and which are important to us. Commitment is beginning to be understood in the context of personal intimate relationships. The depth of meaningfulness in the relationships we have provides the basis for moving forward throughout adulthood as someone who feels they are living a life well lived. As we continue to build and accomplish things in both our relationships and our career, we go on to feel a sense of unity with others close to us - children, spouse , life partner.
As we approach our senior years, we begin to reflect back and see the wisdom we have gained from all of our life's experiences. It is important not to have regrets but see life as stages we traveled through to get our wisdom. It is why the very elderly often have a sense of peace about their life. This should be our goal of living well. Have you ever pondered this?