The stages of our lives can be very important to who we are or who we can become. I know that I’ve gone through many stages of life that have changed without my realising it – until I looked back and saw the transition.
But what’s so important about this? Why do they matter? Well, because they used to be who we are, but we’re not that person anymore. Some people can’t accept this, though, and will try to hold on to a stage of their lives that has long past. The image I have in mind is of a grown man working an office job who is a bit boisterous and loud and immature because he hasn’t let go of the past where they were the popular sportsman at school (as an example).
So, what can we do? We need to:
- Accept these stages when we’re in them
- Accept the stages when they pass
- Learn from each stage of life
- Be excited (not fearful) of stages yet to come
Here are the stages of my life, how I’ve noticed them, and what they may mean…
I used to be an athlete. So much so, I was sure I’d be in the Olympics. Kelly Holmes was my idol, my inspiration. People would step back when they saw me stepping up to bat in rounders. People would look nervous when they saw me standing in line for the 100m or 200m sprints. I used to win the high jump but they would still higher the bar, again and again, to see how far I could go. I was a winner, always.
But that all changed.
I was around 16 when I decided sports and athletics wasn’t for me anymore. This A* Physical Education student was deciding she didn’t want to be that person anymore. Many were surprised, and so was I, but it felt right because I didn’t enjoy it anymore.
At the same time as being an athlete, I was an academic. Well, this became clearer once I had stopped being an athlete. I was intelligent, studious, hard-working, goal-oriented, and passionate about learning. I wasn’t the teacher’s pet, as I hated putting my hand up, but I often knew the answers. I always handed in my homework, and especially in my English lessons, I received high grades, extra work, and praise.
No one doubted my future.
I knew I’d go off to university and have the best time, learning amidst others who were thirsty for knowledge.
But this changed, too, after I dropped out of university – not once but twice.
Of course, after dropping out of university I was very lost. I was unsure of my future. In no time at all, I’d gone from an academic who was sure about university and further education, to a lost drifter. Someone just going along with the motions.
It was a horrid stage in my life, but I needed it in order to grow; to transition. I learned a lot about myself in this time.
This one was a weird one because I chose this stage. I changed the narrative of my life, by saying I was no longer a drifter but instead a “starving artist” who was working on her craft, trying to make it as a self-published author and avid blogger.
This was a much better title than “drifter” and though it was hard (very hard), it felt good.
I guess the other stages were the “worker“. I’ve worked various jobs, whilst writing, and they were important in my development, too.
Since, and perhaps during, I have been in a place of development. A place between places, perhaps. A transitional space of uncertainty but of optimal growth and change, and chance, and trying too.
At the moment, I’m very much building myself. Sculpting myself. I’m trying new things, going out on my own, and testing the boundaries of who I am. I feel like a bud, hoping to blossom into a flower when finding the right conditions where I can grow. Or perhaps a caterpillar in chrysalis waiting for my time to sprout wings and fly.
Or maybe all of it has been my chrysalis all along, it is only now that I am aware of it…
Each of these things were important and are still a part of me, though they have passed. I can’t go back to being an athlete and I don’t intend on going back to being the drifter. But I’m still an athlete, somewhere deep down(!), and can become a fitness enthusiast in the future – perhaps. I can learn from the drifter times. I can channel my inner academic and bring that into my life now to spur me on to always be actively learning and educating myself. To continue being hard-working, studious and curious now with everything I do.
The stages of our lives aren’t mistakes. They are important to our development: who we are or can be. They aren’t a place of residence, either. You can’t force yourself back into that person, or turn around and go back to that stage. It doesn’t work like that. These things aren’t forced. As you can see from my stages, they happened when they happened. They came when the time was right. These stages happen naturally, more often than not, and if they’re right, the transition will be smooth.
Let these stages happen. Let them be what they are. Accept. If you’re not happy with a stage, though, trust that there will be another one. If you’re sad that a stage is coming to an end, trust that you have the power to change things should you need to or want to. And the next stage will greet you when the time is right.