THE TWELVE STAGES OF LIFE

I thought this article interesting and informative, thus I repost here.  Although the brackets for Middle Aged through pre-death have changed since 2008, I am sure you will get the idea.

The Twelve Stages of the Human Life Cycle

Which stage of life is the most important?   Some might claim that infancy is the key stage, when a baby’s brain is wide open to new experiences that will influence all the rest of its later life. Others might argue that it’s adolescence or young adulthood, when physical health is at its peak.  Many cultures around the world value late adulthood more than any other, arguing that it is at this stage that the human being has finally acquired the wisdom necessary to guide others.  Who is right?  The truth of the matter is that every stage of life is equally significant and necessary for the welfare of humanity.  In my book The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life, I’ve written that each stage of life has its own unique “gift” to contribute to the world.  We need to value each one of these gifts if we are to truly support the deepest needs of human life.  Here are what I call the twelve gifts of the human life cycle:

  1. Prebirth:  Potential – The child who has not yet been born could become anything – a Michelangelo, a Shakespeare, a Martin Luther King – and thus holds for all of humanity the principle of what we all may yet become in our lives.
  2. Birth:  Hope – When a child is born, it instills in its parents and other caregivers a sense of optimism; a sense that this new life may bring something new and special into the world.  Hence, the newborn represents the sense of hope that we all nourish inside of ourselves to make the world a better place.
  3. Infancy (Ages 0-3):   Vitality – The infant is a vibrant and seemingly unlimited source of energy.  Babies thus represent the inner dynamo of humanity, ever fueling the fires of the human life cycle with new channels of psychic power.
  4. Early Childhood (Ages 3-6):  Playfulness – When young children play, they recreate the world anew.  They take what is and combine it with the what is possible to fashion events that have never been seen before in the history of the world.  As such, they embody the principle of innovation and transformation that underlies every single creative act that has occurred in the course of civilization.
  5. Middle Childhood (Ages 6-8):  Imagination – In middle childhoood, the sense of an inner subjective self develops for the first time, and this self is alive with images taken in from the outer world, and brought up from the depths of the unconscious.  This imagination serves as a source of creative inspiration in later life for artists, writers, scientists, and anyone else who finds their days and nights enriched for having nurtured a deep inner life.
  6. Late Childhood (Ages 9-11):  Ingenuity – Older children have acquired a wide range of social and technical skills that enable them to come up with marvelous strategies and inventive solutions for dealing with the increasing pressures that society places on them.  This principle of ingenuity lives on in that part of ourselves that ever seeks new ways to solve practical problems and cope with everyday responsibilities.
  7. Adolescence (Ages 12-20):  Passion –  The biological event of puberty unleashes a powerful set of changes in the adolescent body that reflect themselves in a teenager’s sexual, emotional, cultural, and/or spiritual passion.  Adolescence passion thus represents a significant touchstone for anyone who is seeking to reconnect with their deepest inner zeal for life.
  8. Early Adulthood (Ages 20-35):  Enterprise –  It takes enterprise for young adults to accomplish their many responsibilities, including finding a home and mate, establishing a family or circle of friends, and/or getting a good job.  This principle of enterprise thus serves us at any stage of life when we need to go out into the world and make our mark.
  9. Midlife (Ages 35-50):  Contemplation – After many years in young adulthood of following society’s scripts for creating a life, people in midlife often take a break from worldly responsibilities to reflect upon the deeper meaning of their lives, the better to forge ahead with new understanding.  This element of contemplation represents an important resource that we can all draw upon to deepen and enrich our lives at any age.
  10. Mature Adulthood (Ages 50-80): Benevolence – Those in mature adulthood have raised families, established themselves in their work life, and become contributors to the betterment of society through volunteerism, mentorships, and other forms of philanthropy.  All of humanity benefits from their benevolence.  Moreover, we all can learn from their example to give more of ourselves to others.
  11. Late Adulthood (Age 80+):  Wisdom – Those with long lives have acquired a rich repository of experiences that they can use to help guide others.  Elders thus represent the source of wisdom that exists in each of us, helping us to avoid the mistakes of the past while reaping the benefits of life’s lessons.
  12. Death & Dying:  Life – Those in our lives who are dying, or who have died, teach us about the value of living.  They remind us not to take our lives for granted, but to live each moment of life to its fullest, and to remember that our own small lives form of a part of a greater whole.

Since each stage of life has its own unique gift to give to humanity, we need to do whatever we can to support each stage, and to protect each stage from attempts to suppress its individual contribution to the human life cycle.  Thus, we need to be wary, for example, of attempts to thwart a young child’s need to play through the establishment high-pressure formal academic preschools.  We should protect the wisdom of aged from elder abuse.  We need to do what we can to help our adolescents at risk.  We need to advocate for prenatal education and services for poor mothers, and support safe and healthy birthing methods in third world countries. We ought to take the same attitude toward nurturing the human life cycle as we do toward saving the environment from global warming and industrial pollutants.  For by supporting each stage of the human life cycle, we will help to ensure that all of its members are given care and helped to blossom to their fullest degree.

Adapted from Thomas Armstrong, The Human Odyssey:  Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life.  New York:  Sterling, 2008.

A NEW DAY

Dwelling on the past is so sad by G. Hugh Bodell

I have chosen to launch this blog with a post today, a day when the theme mumbled or shouted, globally, is ‘things are about to change’.

This piece is not about how things will change, it is about how my follower demographic, those of us over sixty, will deal with the way things were…yesterday, not only for this event but for yesterdays in general.

As of noon today, January 20, 2017, about half the population of the United States is over-the-top ecstatic about what happens tomorrow and the other half are in a deep depression because they yearn for yesterday or one could say the status quo.

I’d have to say that I’m with the ecstatic group, not because of their politics, rather, because fretting over the results of an event is so sad.  The ecstatic group have rapidly discarded the way things were and are merrily speculating on the way things will be.

More and more today I find people seeking answers to why they feel so negative, so much of the time.  Answering that question has become quite a business.  Search ‘Positive Thinking Books’ on the internet and you will get over 160,000 hits.

Browsing several of these books I learned something…the ecstatic group has the answer.

The two common foundation principles running through all advice on positive thinking:

1] Put the past behind you, move forward and reach for the stars’.

2] Surround yourself with positive people (I always add, …and     chase away the negative folk).

Fifty-one years ago, I was sleeping in doorways in lower New York and pan handling for quarters on the corner of Broadway and Houston Street, to buy cheap wine.

That particular lifestyle ended after a year but I was never far from making a return trip.

I never went back but it took ten years for me to embrace complete renewal.

Forty-One years ago, thanks to many good, giving and positive people, that all ended and I began the climb to achieve success and happiness in many areas.

My secret, I put the past behind me, whether it be forty-one years ago, or a flat tire this morning and I concentrate on moving forward.  Even at the age that I am (figure that out from the information on my personal web site) I am still reaching for the stars.

Part two, I eliminate negative people from my life almost as soon as I realize they are toxic.

2016 was a year filled with negative bombardment, the media marketed hate, distrust and negativity.  It was everywhere on all media, in all directions.  In addition, it was the topic people wanted to get to, as soon as they could, in any gathering, party, bowling, church, anywhere.

My answer was simple; I shut down my social media accounts, I confined my television viewing to pure entertainment without agendas and I subscribed to emergency news flashes of dire potential happenings or disasters, (this, so I would be aware of a nuclear attack were it to occur.)

Thanks to caller ID I have successfully avoided all negative people quite effectively.

I have launched three personal service businesses and am currently writing a new novel, all of which require my involvement with human beings.  You would be surprised that once you set the tone of positivity in personal interactions, it is both easy and fulfilling to keep the interaction on a positive track.  People want to be positive but don’t know how, but wow, are they attracted to an aura of positivity.

I wish I could say that I have some hope that now that we are on the cusp of change, all the toxic negativity will disappear from the media and from peoples’ conversations and all will move on to hope for the future…but it won’t.

Those of us that have lived more than half of our lives have no time for this nonsense.

In the words of Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen in the song by Bing Crosby;

You got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with mister in between

…and if you are not successful with your quest to be a happy and positive person today, wait twenty-four-hours, you get a chance to put today behind you and get it right tomorrow.

Don’t lose faith and don’t give up, it took me ten years, but once I got it, it changed my life forever.  Positivity is as natural and effortless to me today as is breathing.

Put the toxicity of yesterdays behind you and think of them only to learn, then embrace today and your tomorrows and allow yourself to reach for the stars.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

G. Hugh Bodell is an Author, Satirist, Journalist and Publisher;
Visit him and his books at:
www.ghughbodell.com

© Copyright G. Hugh Bodell 2017