MOV­ING THROUGH MILE­STONES Learn to em­brace your next ad­ven­ture.

Ap­proach­ing the Big 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 – or any mul­ti­ple of 10 for that mat­ter – can hail a great party but also send us into a tail­spin as we re ect on our life so far. So how can we move grace­fully into a new age and stage?

In the Moment - - Contents - Words: An­nika Rose

W hile some may claim to be 21 year af­ter year, the truth is that you only reach that mag­i­cal mile­stone once. Each signi cant marker along the adult­hood jour­ney be­yond that brings the op­por­tu­nity for more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, wis­dom, chal­lenges, sto­ries… and grey hairs.

Be­ing blessed with an­other birth­day might be cause, of course, for a big cel­e­bra­tion. For some, the pas­sage of time is a gift in and of it­self. For oth­ers, that sim­ply isn’t the case. Fear and anx­i­ety around age­ing rmly takes hold and there’s a sense of de­nial about which decade or drop-down box you now nd your­self in. When a mile­stone is ap­proach­ing, these good or bad vibes can eas­ily be ex­ac­er­bated.

Whether you’re hap­pily head­ing to­wards it or hid­ing your head in the sand will come down, in part, to what you fo­cus on as you take stock. The big­ger the birth­day, the more likely you are to con­tem­plate how well life is pro­gress­ing along the path you en­vis­aged – or not. While a mile­stone birth­day can carry greater pres­tige, it has the po­ten­tial to stir up greater

pres­sure and panic if noth­ing’s gone to plan. Dur­ing the 1980s, so­cial psy­chol­o­gists Costa and McCrae found in their stud­ies of per­son­al­ity across the life­span that young adults ex­press­ing the most dis­con­tent were the most likely can­di­dates to ex­pe­ri­ence a ‘midlife cri­sis’ years later in their 40s. In par­tic­u­lar, those who had more neu­rotic per­son­al­ity types strug­gled to adapt as well to chal­lenges in midlife and be­yond.

To­day, the cri­sis of age ap­pears to have crept even closer, with re­search ear­lier this year re­veal­ing that ap­prox­i­mately six out of 10 mil­len­ni­als ex­pe­ri­ence a soul-search­ing and se­ri­ously stress­ful quar­ter-life cri­sis. At its core, this kind of strug­gle re­lates to di culty cop­ing with per­sonal, nan­cial and/or workre­lated pres­sures. Those in their 20s and 30s are more com­monly ques­tion­ing their place in the world and, upon in­wardly eval­u­at­ing their ex­is­tence, have ex­ter­nal ex­pec­ta­tions and the tick-tock of age­ing to con­tend with on top. While it can in­deed be a chal­leng­ing time, this is also seen as a de ning decade of self-aware­ness, cu­rios­ity and per­sonal growth.

To age is not only a bi­o­log­i­cal process, but some­thing deeply re ec­tive of a cul­ture, too. Di er­ent cul­tures have their own dis­tinct prac­tices and at­ti­tudes to­wards age­ing that can shape the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­pec­ta­tions of reach­ing each and ev­ery mile­stone.

In Western cul­tures, where youth is es­pe­cially revered, age­ing can be con­sid­ered a neg­a­tive, shame­ful and po­ten­tially dis­tress­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for some. This fear of age­ing is driven by a sense of los­ing value, in­de­pen­dence, and even­tu­ally, los­ing touch. When analysing the World Val­ues Sur­vey – com­pleted by over 83,000 re­spon­dents in 57 coun­tries

– the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion found such neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes to­wards age­ing are wide­spread: 60% of re­spon­dents felt older peo­ple were not re­spected, with the low­est lev­els of re­spect be­ing re­ported among high­er­in­come coun­tries.

Find­ings like this re­it­er­ate that, both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally, there’s more work to be done when it comes to age­ing well and sup­port­ing one an­other through the many mile­stones of life. Grow­ing older has cer­tain chal­lenges, but there are also in­cred­i­ble gains to be made and les­sons to be learned as time goes by.

At ev­ery stage of life, we’re in­vited to deepen our ma­tu­rity, broaden our minds and open our hearts more fully. To un­der­stand more about mov­ing through mile­stones, we spoke to women at di er­ent stages about grow­ing up grace­fully and their jour­ney to date.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.