The Four Seasons of Adult Life
Novice (17–28 Years)
Novice actually means new or beginner. You’re transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. During this period, the rational portion of your brain is developing. You make a lot of choices (friends, higher education, vocation/job) that will impact the rest of your life.
- Will I grow up? Will I put away my childish things and ways? Think of a childish habit you had. Do you still have it?
- Who do you spend time with? It’s said that you’re the sum total of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Who is the best person in your life today? Tip: Try to never be the smartest person in the room. (Editorial comment: Be a lifelong learner.)
- What is/will your life be about? What path will you take? Will you focus on something bigger than yourself?
- What will your priorities be?
- Going down the wrong path.
- A tendency to be prideful.
- A focus on “doing” versus “being.”
Apprentice (29–39 Years)
This is (or should be) a transition stage.
- Your priorities will be tested. (What are your tensions?) During this phase is when many people get married.
- Face your family wounds. (Often, your issues from your family of origin will manifest themselves during this phase. Be ready and consider seeking professional help.)
- Relational complexity increases (parents, spouse, children, co-workers, neighbors). You may experience relationship disappointments. Will you “lean in” or “run”?
- There’s frequently a tendency to compare yourself with others (job, bank account, home, vehicle, spouse, kids).
Journeyman (40–54 Years)
In this stage, life is accelerating and can be exhausting.
- You begin the transition from young to old. Your energy level is decreasing, while at the same time your demands are increasing. You need to re-position yourself for maximum effectiveness. Tip: Consider a reverse bucket list. In other words, what should you eliminate from your life so you can focus on your highest priorities?
- How will you respond? Will you become a “victim,” or will you accept the responsibility to change? Is there an area of your life where you failed? What role did you play?
- Will you become isolated or connected?
(Editorial comments: 1) I refer to this as the “Perfect Storm” phase of life. We have high demands at work, at home, at church, in the community. You have to learn to say “no,” or you’ll become overwhelmed. 2) In my experience and observation, this stage goes into the 60s for many executives.)
Mentor (55+ Years)
During this phase, you’ll cash in on your previous choices. You may retire from your longtime career/vocation. You could become an experienced, trusted advisor. (Editorial comments: 1) As you know, I’m not a big fan of retirement. 2) While you’re in an influential position, it’s an ideal time to begin mentoring others. 3) I would also encourage mentoring until you can’t.)
- Will you be a consumer or an investor? (Editorial comment: Said another way, will you be a taker or a giver?)
- Will you pass on wisdom, skills, and your experience? (Mentor, or initiate/engage; ask questions versus lecture; be available and give of your time; tell stories; encourage others.)
- When will you step aside? (Editorial comment: When will you transition to your “Next Season”?)
Concluding reflections: 1) What’s the best thing in your life today? 2) What’s your biggest challenge and how will you address it?