Over the years, we notice that we have ceased to like something that brought joy only recently, and instead other desires have arisen. To a noisy evening in the club, which once brought a lot of pleasure, we prefer chatting with a friend or relaxing with a family. And our grown children, abandoning games, are now texting on social networks. These changes mean that a new stage has begun in life – with its own joys.
Personal development is not limited to the age of childhood and adolescence, it occurs constantly. Life can be described in the form of successive stages of personal development – this approach was proposed in the early 60s of the last century by the largest American psychologist Eric Erickson.
Moving to a new age stage, we change, acquire new tastes, set other goals for ourselves. In order for the transition to pass safely, without regrets, it is important to live each period as fully as possible, paying attention to what gives pleasure, and discovering new facets in yourself. Psychologist Galina Burmenskaya tells about these age stages.
Under 12: Play
The greatest pleasure at this age is playing. In addition to pure joy, it benefits the child: he learns to take initiative and defend his opinion, master the system of social relations.
If parents consider play to be an empty affair, then the child has a feeling of helplessness and his own uselessness. Adults who encourage children in their endeavors, help a son or daughter to gain a sense of their own competence, foster purposefulness and initiative in them.
12-19 years old: Being in the company
Teenagers love to spend time with friends: it is important for them to talk heart to heart, discuss their feelings and problems. They communicate in instant messengers, go to the cinema together, to concerts – this is the greatest joy for them. Through comparison with others, they seek their identity.
Closure at this age leads to self-doubt, which sometimes persists for many years. Communicating with peers, a teenager gets a chance to “taste” different roles, see the similarities and differences between people, learns to analyze …
During this period, loyalty to friendly ideals, a sense of support, trust in oneself and others are born.
19-25: Build relationships outside the parental family
As we enter adolescence (or early adulthood), the close, intimate relationship of two people comes to the fore. This is a love relationship between a man and a woman, and a deep, sincere friendship. We enjoy inner intimacy, empathy for another, we learn to perceive the world openly.
Close relationships and personal growth give such vivid emotions that we enjoy sharing with others – friends, family, colleagues – our strength and joy, directing the flow of energy to creativity. If close relationships do not bring joy, then a person often tries to hide from the outside world, withdrawing into himself.
25-50 years old: Create
Adulthood is the age at which we create our own family, we have children, we develop professionally. Creative self-realization in various areas of life is the main thing that really pleases us.
By caring for other people, raising children, building professional communication, we create ourselves. It is very important in these years not to stand still, but to enjoy everyday life. In this way we imperceptibly prepare for sophisticated maturity.
Over 50: Making sense
Having reached the age of maturity – a stage prepared by the entire previous life – a person gradually withdraws from active activity. If, looking back at the life he has lived, he feels satisfaction and peace, he has a feeling of wholeness. But if the life lived seems like a series of mistakes and missed opportunities, the person is overcome with despair.
Of course, we can no longer change anything, but it is in our power to see our past in a new light. In rethinking the past, a mature person needs an interlocutor – you can happily share memories with friends, with younger ones, and maintain family memory.
Joy can be found by starting a new life: it is at this age that some people master new professions, travel, receive another education, feeling their life rich and experiencing true pleasure from it.
- Eric Erickson Childhood and Society, Summer Garden, 2000.
- Eric Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis, Progress, 1996.