From childhood to old age - thoughts about the different stages of human life.
Is there actually a universally valid definition for the stages of human life? Are they specific periods of time in a person's life that are always of the same length? One is inclined to say that the stages of a person's life are childhood, the phase of youth or adolescence, and adulthood. The latter, in turn, is further subdivided into the years of professional activity and retirement. And if you want to make it even smaller, you can divide the pensioners into two groups, the sprightly pensioners and the really old ones. This rough division of the phases of life may be generally valid, but on closer inspection, the individual phases of a person's life are as individual as each person himself.
There are stages of life within a stage of life
The other day I was visiting my sister in northern Germany. In her kitchen hangs a family picture from the past. Earlier in this case means the phase of my childhood. In addition to my parents, my six siblings and I were also in the picture. And involuntarily I was reminded of a special period in my life – the short phase when we lived with nine people in a relatively confined space. Interestingly, this was a period of life within my childhood. Because one sister got married quite early. So that ended a particular period of my life, within my period of life called “childhood.”
"Earlier" - the phase of life without beginning and without end
People often talk about the past. “Former” is a phase in a person's life that is definitely in the past. And with increasing age, people have more amount of “earlier” at their disposal. When our parents or grandparents talk about earlier, they often mean the phase of World War II or the post-war period. That must have been a special phase of life for that generation. Years that decisively shaped their childhood and youth and also their later development. A time when needs were completely different from those of today. As a result, the people who lived through them are characterized by gratitude, contentment and modesty well into old age – and somehow also seem very wise.
One of the most important stages of human life: childhood
The way one spends one's childhood is formative for one's entire life into old age. For example, it is said that by the age of three or four, education should be complete. The years of childhood and what children learn in the early years has a decisive influence on human development, both negatively and positively. This applies to social behavior in general as well as to personal stability during puberty and adolescence. And a good childhood upbringing – which generally means a good education – also benefits young people in their education and throughout the rest of their lives.
Is there the "one" most beautiful period in a person's life?
Basically, the question cannot really be answered, at most shortly before death. For as long as one is alive, and hopefully still has a few years of life ahead of him, one does not know what other beautiful periods of life are in store for one that will eclipse everything experienced up to that point. Without a doubt, childhood is one of the most beautiful stages of human life. No responsibilities, no worries about making a living, endless school vacations. But for many people, even childhood is not one of the most beautiful periods in their lives.
The time of youth is often regarded as the most beautiful phase of life. The first, self-earned pocket money, the clique, the moped, the first time in love – a time that should preferably never end, but which is abruptly interrupted by adulthood with all the associated obligations. But even adulthood has its really nice phases. Who hasn't experienced themselves when old people talk with shining eyes about how they themselves became a father or mother. When they held their offspring in their arms for the first time and were able to proudly accompany them into life.
Career steps are also life stages
For some people, professional life and the associated career is the most important stage of life. Every other topic, whether own children, marriage, leisure time and pleasure, is subordinated to the topic of career. People want to achieve as much as possible in the time in which they can take advantage of professional opportunities. Many people are unaware of what they miss out on in their lives when their professional identity takes precedence over their private identity. In retrospect, this has not infrequently ended in a personal crisis. A crisis that suddenly raises questions about the meaning of life. A crisis that relentlessly reveals that work and career are perhaps not the most important parts of a person's life after all. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case, but unfortunately it often is.
Periods of life to forget
There are those, too – at every age. Who hasn't had periods in their life that they would like to erase from their memory? Embarrassing moments in childhood, bad behavior in adolescence, a relationship that falls apart, a business deal with a high financial loss – pretty much everyone can contribute something to the topic of “life stages to forget”. Many things can be laughed about later, can be fixed or straightened out, but there are also stages of life when things happen that have an impact on the rest of your life, or at least on many years to come. When a topic like that comes up, it's just, don't remind me.
It's not the length that matters, but the intensity
People always think that a stage of life should be a long-lasting phase. This is often the case, especially when we return to the beginning of this observation and think of stages of human life such as childhood or retirement. But there are also phases of life that are often very short, but of such intensity that they occupy a fixed place in the consideration of a human life as a stage of life. For example, a serious accident with subsequent hospitalization. Or the current phase of the corona pandemic. These are experiences that may only cover a relatively short period of time, but are so intense that they are remembered for the rest of a person's life and thus constitute a significant period of a person's life or the life of an entire generation.
Some periods of life provide material for an entire book
This is the conclusion we come to when we look at the subject of the stages of a person's life. Every person has phases in their life that are worth writing down. Have you ever thought about writing down your childhood or that of your children or grandchildren, the relationship with your partner and how it all began, or just phases from your life in a real book?
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