from Washington’s Blog:
TThe idea that human life subdivides rather naturally into stages is based on our natural progression from childhood into adulthood and eventual (if we’re lucky) old age.
Confucian thought views life as a developmental process with seven stages, each roughly corresponding to a decade: childhood, young adulthood (16-30), age of independence (30-39), age of mental independence (40-49), age of spiritual maturity (50-59), age of acceptance (60-69), and age of unification (70 – end of life).
Each stage has various tasks, goals and duties, which establish the foundation for the next stage.
Each stage is centered on a core human drama: for the teenager, establishing an identity and life that is independent of parents; for the young adult, finding a mate and establishing a career; for the middle-aged, navigating the challenges of raising children and establishing some measure of financial security; for those in late middle-age, helping offspring reach independent adulthood and caring for aging parents; early old age, seeking fulfillment now that life’s primary duties have been accomplished and managing one’s health; and old age, the passage of accepting mortality and the loss of vitality.
The End of Secure Work and the diminishing returns of financialization are disrupting these core human dramas and frustrating those who are unable to proceed to the next stage of life:
1. Teenagers are being pressured to focus their lives on achieving a conventional financial success that is becoming harder to achieve.
2. Young adults without secure full-time careers cannot afford marriage or children, so they extend the self-absorption of late adolescence into middle age.
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