A Stage of Life, or LifeStage (LS) is a general classification that can help group a person into a ‘bucket’ of similar people. LS’s have typically been classified by age group only, which is not necessarily wrong. However, my take on LS’s differ slightly in that I add in some additional factors or attributes to the stages in order to make them a little more specific. The benefit here is that the stages can be more specific to an individual and have more applicable priorities and challenges.
Why think about them?
Knowing your LS will probably not be a life shattering event, though it can be a fun little exercise to help offer a definition of who you are. An LS is a generalization of people who have similar challenges and responsibilities. Knowing the general challenges and responsibilities can provide an insight into potential future problems and opportunities for you.
It can also be eye opening for you if you find that you are acting in a way that is inconsistent with your LS. It will allow you to take a look at what you are doing today and decide whether you need to make any changes. Often, people do not change their priorities in life because those priorities have become a habit (commonly known as ‘being stuck in the past’).
Have you ever known someone, perhaps in their late 30’s or early 40’s who, even though they are married with kids, is stuck in party mode? They try to live like they were still in their 20’s and seem like they do not ever want to grow up. This is an example of your actions not being in congruence with your Life Stage. Actively thinking about your LS from time to time can make you more aware and less likely to act in ways that are not in line with your LS
Seems simple. Why don’t people change?
This concept is not difficult, I get that. It does seem that if you are not ‘acting your age’ then you should make a change. There are a number reasons we do not change. First, most people are not classifying what ‘stage’ they are in because it’s not a normal thought process. Have you ever thought about it before now? Most change is gradual, so you don’t necessarily see a change of stage coming and you certainly don’t receive a letter in the mail informing you.
That being said, Life Stages are not ‘most changes.’ They are, surprisingly, quite obvious if you are thinking about them. Any major life event typically denotes a change in LS. Some examples are: a birthday, a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, and graduation from college or high school. Those are the obvious and most common ones. Other less obvious ones could be getting fired, changing jobs, moving, or a death in the family.
Lastly, and most importantly, we don’t focus on these stages because habit makes up the majority of what we do in life. And, habits change VERY slowly, and usually only by design. If you have never exercised before, it is unlikely that you will start doing so just because of a birthday. Oh, you might go a few times, but continuing to do so is uncommon (as evidenced by the number of folks that sign up for a gym membership in January every year and then quit before the end of the month).
What should we do about them?
Take action and make some changes. Actions have consequences, we all know that. Did you know that not taking action is an action too? If you don’t work, you will lose your house or apartment. If you don’t start saving, you will face terrible challenges when you decide to retire, if you even can. If you don’t raise your children to the best of your abilities, they will suffer for it.
Start small. Remove some of the activities that don’t suit your Life Stage and add in an activity that does. Making changes will allow you to grow but it does not have to happen all at once. It will also improve your relationships with friends and family and can lead to living a more inspired life. If you are stuck in the past, or are unwilling to face the present, you cannot contribute your ‘all’ to the world. Do you want to be stuck in the past or progress into the future? Take charge of your life!
What things do you do today that you should stop doing?