Assessing your stage of life
Your age conveys a great deal about
your social status. First, think about
which of these stages you’re in:
Stage 1. Forever young. In this
stage, you’re forever young, bulletproof,
unencumbered and, as the song “Fame”
proclaims, “gonna live forever.”
Stage 2. In the game but not ready
for prime time. In this stage of young
adulthood, you get a job, form a serious
relationship, join the rat race and start
a family. Unless you’re exceptionally
bright, talented and lucky in your work
life, you’re probably not in the starting
Stage 3. In your prime. In this stage,
you’re sitting on top of the world—riding
high. Perhaps you’re a bit arrogant, but
you’re thriving at work and/or in your
Stage 4. A bit past your prime
(but still in the game). Some stay long
past their prime. Others, convinced
that they’re too old, bow out too soon.
Having an honest sense of where you
are allows you to live life to its fullest.
Stage 5. Transitioning out of the
race. The decision to take your foot off
the gas, get off the highway and retire
is a major step.
This is a great time to reinvent
yourself and find meaning apart from
your work life.
Stage 6. Elderhood. As an elder,
you may focus on anything from crossword puzzles, golf and painting to
grandparenting, lunches with friends
and/or mentoring young professionals.
Stage 7. Running out of time.
Sooner or later, you arrive at, or sense,
that you’re close to life’s end.
Now that you have a better sense
of what time it is in your life, make a
list of the 10 things you can do right
now to begin making this time in your
life wonderful and set the stage for your
best possible future.
Sooner or later the question “What
time is it?” comes to its natural conclusion. We look back from the end of our
lives to see what kind of legacy we’ve
left for others, and what we can do to
pay it forward.
It may be time to plant a “giving
tree” in whose shade someone will sit in
the years after you’re gone. Replenish a
rain forest. Use your voice to plant seeds
of hope, empathy, peace, courage and
civility in your community, nation and
the world. Or give generously to those
in dire need. The life that goes on when
someone sits in the shade of a tree you
planted is a legacy of love that you, and
those who follow you, can be forever
OVERCOMING AGE-STATUS INSECURITY
Being young in a youth-worshiping society affords
many privileges: We’re a part
of something. We belong.
As we get older, our status
diminishes and we’re prone to
feeling that we most certainly
do not belong. Unsure of our
worth and riddled with status
insecurity, we pressure
ourselves to look and act
younger—to fit in. And we feel
despair when forced to face
To overcome these feelings,
read the following affirmations
to yourself or to a trusted friend
on a regular basis:
Affirmation 1. I release all
feelings of embarrassment, fear
and shame, as well as the need
to apologize, explain or defend
myself when I’m asked, “How
old are you?”
Affirmation 2. From this day
forward, I greet my older self
with love, acceptance,
compassion, support and
Affirmation 3. I summon
the courage I need to move
forward and let go of old fears,
hurts, regrets, expectations and
self-limiting ideas about my age
that keep me from harvesting
the joy, peace, curiosity and
love in each day of my life.
Affirmation 4. I do whatever
is necessary to put my house in
order, simplify and unclutter my
life, and I pay the good forward.
Affirmation 5. I cultivate the
emotional strength to make
peace with life, let go and find
joy in each and every moment.
Finding and affirming your
true value, worth and wealth is
a matter of self-care, compassion, lovingkindness and true
generosity, not chronological