The Life Cycle

Have you ever thought about the life cycle.  As I think about moving through life, I think about being a kid, getting through the terrible teens, becoming an adult (and all the things that come with that), having kids, being an empty nester, and getting old.  Most of the time it comes in that order, but sometimes having kids and becoming an adult get a little messed up.  Understanding the life cycle can help you prepare for the next phase of your life, making sure that you are ready for what’s to come.

As a kid, you learn things in school, but you also learn how to be in relationships and handle frustration and so many other things.  You put it to work as a teen, and learn more about how to get through situations.  Putting them to use comes next, then teaching them to your kids, and so on.  The problem occurs if you don’t master relationship 101, or coping skills 101.  Being able to handle frustration, sadness, anger, and other charged emotions is key to becoming a successful adult.  Moving through the life cycle, you are met with lots of frustration and situation that you can’t control, especially as a teen.

As an adult, you can catch up with lessons, but it’s harder.  If you catch up, surviving your teens isn’t hard, but if you are struggling, it can be really difficult.  Coping skills and frustration tolerance are important in the early stages of adulthood.  You tend to be looking for jobs, getting turned down, and feeling rejected.  Getting into the work force isn’t an easy task, but it’s where coping skills come in, to get through the tough times.

As you move through life, raising kids becomes the next question.  Today, having kids is more of a choice.  People are more able to decide if they want children or not.  I have friends that didn’t want children, for many different reasons.  I made the choice to have kids, for other reasons.  Some days are better than others, but I have to admit that I had kids late.  I had many adventures in my twenties that other didn’t get to have.  Now I have friends who are at that empty nest phase, and sometimes I envy them, but it’s a trade off.

As the empty nest phase comes, or as you celebrate wedding anniversaries, the cycle keeps going.  Whether you chose to have kids, or chose to make a commitment to another person (marriage or otherwise), the adult years move on, whether you want them to or not.  Now is the time to prepare as much as you can for your next phase.  Save for retirement, take trips, and do things you enjoy.   I think one of my biggest regrets is not preparing for retirement more.  Playing catch up isn’t fun.  I should have started saving when I was 22.

Being able to retire, and enjoy retirement, is generally most people goal, but these days, it’s harder than ever.  I’m hoping to be able to retire and enjoy my retirement, before I’m dead or to sick to care, but who knows what the future holds

.  As we get older, having a plan for your care and your wishes is important.  I have worked with so many families that were trying to care for loved ones, without knowing what the person would have wanted.  I know thinking about what you would want in different situations is scary but make plans if you can.    Don’t be afraid to make your wishes known.  Prepay for your funeral, when you are 30.  Tell your kids how you want to die, when you are 40.  My kids already know what I want.  I don’t want a funeral, but I would like to be cremated.  Don’t be afraid to let your family know, even if you are 20.

Having a plan and being prepared is all part of the life cycle.  Think about your life cycle.  How do you need to prepare for the next phase?  Do you need help?  What kind?  Understanding the life cycles can be very interesting, and can help you be prepared and happy for life.