Life Transitions, Day 13: Age
She strutted her stuff, just as the models do on the runway. It was done in complete mockery of modeling.
But I wasn’t laughing. To me she appeared as though a golden-haired goddess.
In that moment, I couldn’t look at girls like her the same way anymore. Something changed for good.
This is Life Transitions. Welcome to day 13.
Life Transitions Series
If you’d like to get caught up with the series, here are all the pertinent links:
Life Transitions, Day 1 (Introduction)
Life Transitions, Day 2: Resistance
Life Transitions, Day 3: Jobs & Careers
Life Transitions, Day 4: Location
Life Transitions, Day 5: Relationships
Life Transitions, Day 6: When the Sandcastle Crumbles
Life Transitions, Day 7: Recovery
Life Transitions, Day 8: Pivots
Life Transitions, Day 9: Injury
Life Transitions, Day 10: Illness
Life Transitions, Day 11: Disaster
Life Transitions, Day 12: Upheaval
Age-Related Life Transitions
When I think of someone who waxes eloquent about age-related transitions, I imagine a grey-haired sage with glasses and a pipe giving a rare fireside chat.
Not a thirty-something digital nomad renaissance man who doesn’t have a singular focus but has tried his hand at a myriad of things – graphic design, web design, writing, podcasting, video, music, audio production, community, business, and more.
(That’s a wink to a dear friend of mine.)
So, what do I know about age? I know that I don’t know much.
Lately, I’ve been going through life confused as to why one moment is followed by another moment. I’ve been asking why it’s just a collection of sequential moments etched in memory.
Can’t life go on pause while I go and figure out a few things?
You can’t hold onto anything. So, why is it worth experiencing anything?
Clearly, I’ve had too much time to think.
(This is not said in defeatist or depressed kind of way – it’s said in a “wow, I didn’t realize this is what life was going to be” kind of way).
I have memories. I can remember a great deal about my past. But Dr. Joe Dispenza says we don’t even remember 50% of our past correctly.
It’s a wonder we rely on memory as much as we do, because it’s clearly not the most reliable source of information. It’s not even something as concrete as information as far as I’m concerned – it’s more like a dream.
What I’ve understood about age is this:
- It goes forward, never backward.
- You start as a child, not fully developed. In your first 18 to 21 years, your body develops fully.
- By age 35, you are 95% set in stone as a personality. But you can tap into a new you using certain methods.
- Every seven years, all your cells are completely replaced by new cells, and you end up with a new body.
- We sometimes go through crises. The most documented is the midlife crisis, but we can have similar crises at other times (also known as quarter life crises).
Even these bullets are somewhat crude in understanding age. But we can use them as a starting point at least.
Would it be accurate to say there are seasons in a person’s life?
And would it be fair to say the masculine and feminine journey are a little different?
This is a heated subject nowadays, and while I don’t wish to open that Pandora’s box, or incite a mass of hate mail, it seems most appropriate to raise this issue in connection with age and transitions.
If I may offer a suggestion…
Perhaps read the following with a grain of salt. If we were honest with ourselves, we’d see that we’ve all benefited from being introduced to concepts and ideas which at first, we didn’t think would be of any profit to our entitled perspectives.
The 6 Stages of Masculinity
Author John Eldredge, for example, eloquently expressed that the masculine journey is made up of six distinct stages:
Per Eldredge, these stages can certainly overlap, especially the Warrior and Lover stages. If you don’t mind a religious perspective, then it’s certainly worth delving into Eldredge’s books for more insight, from which I have benefited.
The Boyhood and Cowboy stages have a limited lifespan, as a boy becomes a man and turns into a Warrior and a Lover. A Warrior always has a battle to fight, whether he faces it or not, and for many men it’s often represented by their ambition and desire to achieve in any area, grand or not.
Eldredge says not all men become a King, and nor should they. It’s a season or stage of life to be entered reluctantly because it means great responsibility over a greater number of people.
And a Sage is only a true Sage if he’s lived a life worth telling about.
Stages of Femininity?
Eldredge and his wife Stasi have also written on the heart of the woman, though I’m not sure they’ve defined the feminine journey in the same way they’ve done for the masculine journey.
I don’t think I couldn’t speak to it either way, but I want to emphasize that it isn’t any less important. Please, understand. I don’t wish to speak like an expert in a capacity where I’m starting from bush league.
And for anyone who feels excluded from this conversation, it was not intentional.
What might be wise is a conversation with a trusted mentor or even your grandparents if they’re still living. Asking them how they would define their journey. What stuck out to them. What seasons, stages, or phases, they progressed through. Getting a sense of where they feel they are now.
To me, that seems like a highly productive use of your time as it pertains to age-related transitions regardless.
Interpreting Transition Through Seasons
If we were to take for granted that every season is a transition, then it’s fair to say there are also mixed feelings marking each.
A transition from Cowboy to Warrior, for example, basically follows the progression from adolescence to manhood.
This would be a time of celebration. But also, a time for mourning.
Celebrate because you’re becoming a man. Mourn because your days of being a kid are over.
Which isn’t to say one must celebrate or mourn. But if we understood these transitions more clearly, we would also understand that some things are coming to an end, while other things are just coming to the fore.
None of it means we should give up something – like fun. Nor does it mean we should embrace something else – like duty and obligation (I have not known anything that sooner kills a person’s heart than duty and obligation).
But we can prepare for the journey ahead by pursuing the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of others.We can prepare for the journey ahead by pursuing the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of others. Click To Tweet
How to Handle Age-Related Transitions
I can only speak to what has made a difference for me. Depending on what you’re facing now, you may find my tips as useful as a placebo or band-aid.
I don’t know how much the cliché of buying a new car (“bicep extension”) helps with midlife crisis, nor do I know the aches and pains that apparently accompany seniority.
I have, however, experienced what I would describe as a quarter life crisis, shortly after graduating high school.
I never bought into the blatant propaganda of “these are the best years of your life, so you better enjoy them” (rather, I thought to myself, “these better not be my best years, because I had a miserable time thank you very much”), but in my eyes the end of high school signified nothing of especial importance. I didn’t even go to prom.
And what came after? More school? And then what?
Adulthood didn’t make sense to an 18-year-old, and while many see me as mature, I can promise that parts of me went severely underdeveloped and overlooked for years. I think I’m still working on that.
It’s entirely possible I will never “grow up” because I don’t know what that means, it seems rather boring to me anyway, and why is it necessary? I’ve learned that I can be as childlike as I want, so long as I am not childish (there is a difference).
Anyway, I’ve waffled long enough. Here’s what has worked with me in terms of handling transitions.
One. Find a counselor. I have personally worked with two psychologists, as well as a career counselor (or was it a marriage counselor? – either way, what we discussed was general life stuff) at different points in my life.
If nothing else, I was presented with an outside perspective. I may not have been ready to accept it at the time, or even the desire to move forward with suggestions offered, but we can’t underestimate the value of another’s advice.
Most of the time, I don’t heed advice given (or don’t feel able to), but I can also remember a time when my mentor told me to do something (“sell your house”) and I did so immediately. His counsel was spot on. If you’re going to hold it inside, anyway, find someone to talk to.
Two. Identify your regrets. Crisis has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with what you have, or haven’t done. Figure out what those things are. And, even if they involve people who’ve already expired or you’ve long lost contact with, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. You can confess or forgive in your mind. You can even write letters to them (no need to send them). And if your regrets involve passions or hobbies, then take it for granted that it’s never too late. Start now. Start today.Take it for granted that it’s never too late. Click To Tweet
Three. Find something to get excited about again. As I turned 30, I wondered if there was honestly anything to look forward to in adulthood beyond what I was already staring back at.
Right around that time, I started watching the TV series Californication. Well, let’s just say the protagonist Hank Moody made adulthood look like a ton of fun to me. And something about the character resonated with me, even if he is an “asshole” (actor David Duchovny’s words, not mine).
Okay, so I don’t have an agent, I’m not a womanizer, and I’m not a parent yet, but I realized you don’t have to stop doing anything (especially having fun), just because you’re an adult.
Four. Meditate. Meditation has become kind of the catch-all answer throughout this series. That’s wasn’t necessarily my intention, but it’s fair to say, if you’re going to sit with yourself and your emotions and everything that comes up while you’re feeling whatever you’re feeling, then you may as well make the process as beneficial and enjoyable as possible.
Meditation has innumerable health, mental, and emotional benefits, and as Dr. Dispenza says, you can even achieve heart-brain coherence with it. What a gift.
Meditation isn’t the be-all end-all by any stretch of the imagination. But its value is not lost on me, and I can see myself meditating for at least an hour per day, if not two, as part of my regular routine.
Age, Final Thoughts
Life is inevitable. Aging is also inevitable. And the inevitability of it is part of the experience. During that experience, we will think and feel many things.
The roller-coaster ride is exactly what we signed up for. We can fear it. We can loathe it. But we can also enjoy it. Let it unfold and play out. There is no right or wrong in this sense, but there is a choice.
As you experience transitions, document them. And share them with others who would find them beneficial. There’s no telling what others might be able to learn from your experience.
What has your experience with aging been like? How have you handled age-related transitions?
Unless you have questions that need answering, this series on life transitions is about to reach a conclusion. Let me know if there’s anything I can shine a light on.
Leave a comment below.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
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