The concept of age has traditionally been categorized into distinct stages: childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood, and old age. However, a broader perspective reveals that each stage is not merely a period but a complete cycle encompassing all phases of human development. Within each stage, we sequentially experience childhood uncertainty, awe towards life, adolescent fragility, restlessness, and the gradual ageing and phasing out of that age.
What is the Repetition of Feelings Across Different Ages?
We transition through all life stages and their phases, from the infancy of childhood (0 to 1 year) to the advanced years of old age (post-80 years). The periodization of these stages is conditional; it’s the model of dual age division in life that holds significance.
Within each age, periods of adolescence occur, marked by a sharp break in world perception, a crisis of trust and confidence, alienation from others, and a sense of life’s meaninglessness. The “three-year crisis” in early childhood typifies this, characterized by a tendency towards independence and a rebellious attitude towards adults.
The midlife crisis, striking many around 35–40 years, often brings divorces, existential and familial dramas, a feeling of life being drained, and a new alienation from the world.
Just as adolescence exists in maturity, so does a time of harmonious flourishing, or maturity, exist in adolescence. Old age repeats itself at various life transitions: when we say goodbye to childhood (9–10), adolescence (16), youth (28–30), and maturity (55–60), and then prepare for the ultimate farewell to life itself. For modern Western societies, this final phase can generously be described as “post-80 years.”
Each age phase has its unique world perception. A person in their late twenties grapples with the “end of youth” feeling, the weariness of their age, and the need to cross a threshold into the habits of the next age. This feeling unites them with the ten-year-old outgrowing childhood, the 16-year-old on the cusp of youth, and those nearing 60, sensing the approach of old age.
When Does Each Life Stage Reach Its Pivotal Event?
Each life stage also mirrors itself: the childhood of childhood, the adolescence of adolescence, the youth of youth, the maturity of maturity, and the old age of old age. Two of these – the childhood of childhood and the old age of old age – flank life’s beginning and end, marked by birth and death. The other three represent central axes around which our existence seems to revolve.
The adolescence of adolescence (13 years) is a time of sexual awakening when a person becomes capable of reproduction. It’s also an age of self-awareness awakening, marked by acute and sometimes painful self-reflection – about one’s external and internal identity and one’s place and purpose in the world.
The youth of youth, the first half of the 20s, is considered the most suitable age for marriage and having first children, as well as a time for professional self-determination and completing the apprenticeship cycle, transitioning to independence.
How Does Each Life Stage Reflect a Complete Human Development Cycle?
Each life stage encompasses a full cycle of human development, reflecting distinct psychological and emotional experiences. For instance, childhood is not just a time period but a phase where one experiences wonder, learning, and growth. Similarly, adolescence involves a sharp break in world perception and identity crisis, while adulthood is marked by stability, maturity, and eventual preparation for old age. These stages are not isolated but are interconnected, each representing a comprehensive cycle of experiences and development.
What is the Significance of the Repetition of Feelings Across Different Ages?
The repetition of feelings across different ages highlights the cyclical nature of human development. For example, the uncertainty and curiosity experienced in childhood can reappear in adolescence and adulthood during times of transition or crisis. This repetition suggests that each stage of life revisits previous emotional and psychological states, albeit in a more mature context. Understanding this can help individuals navigate their feelings and experiences at different life stages with greater awareness and empathy.
Where Do We See the Dual Age Division Model in Life?
The dual age division model is evident throughout the human lifespan. This model suggests that each life stage, such as childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, is divided into two parts: an initial phase and a later phase. For instance, early childhood (infancy) and later childhood (preadolescence), early adulthood (youth) and later adulthood (midlife). This division helps in understanding the complexity of each stage and the transitions that occur within them, providing a more nuanced view of human development.
When Do Crucial Transitions Occur in the Human Life Cycle?
Crucial transitions in the human life cycle occur at various points, typically at the cusp of changing life stages. These include transitioning from childhood to adolescence around 13 years, from adolescence to young adulthood in the late teens, from young adulthood to full adulthood around 30, and then into middle age and senior years. Each of these transitions is marked by significant psychological and emotional changes, reflecting the evolving nature of human development.
How Do We Understand the Concept of ‘Old Age of Old Age’?
The ‘old age of old age’ concept refers to the later stage of life, typically post-80 years, where individuals reflect on their life journey, embracing the culmination of their experiences. It’s a period marked by a deeper understanding of life, acceptance of the past, and preparation for life’s conclusion. This stage is characterized by a sense of wisdom and, often, a reconnection with the simplicity and wonder similar to childhood, bringing the cycle of life full circle.