Phases of the Adult Life Journey

"I am not bound to win, I am bound to be true, I am not bound to succeed, I am bound to live up to the light I have" Abraham Lincoln

Change is an inevitable fact of the adult life journey.  We are continually adjusting to the changes we have made for ourselves or the changes that are bestowed on us.  How we manage change in our personal lives, in our careers, in our life circumstances during different phases of the life cycle can make or break us.  Understanding the phases of the life cycle is a first step towards managing our lives and assisting others.

The young adult-"who am I?"

We are shaped by our early years, the pattern of our adolescence and our interactions with others.  These formative years equip us for better or worse with a sense of self, a set of beliefs, values, defenses, strengths and a capacity for risk and challenge.  As we move into adulthood, we experiment with different ways of being.  We seek independence and autonomy but do not always know how to go about it.  At this time of life there are many options to choose from and many role models to watch about how to be.  Often this is a time of learning how to choose for ourselves.  We strive to seek an equilibrium between who we are and who we want to be.  

Change is ongoing.  The choices we make can set out the future for a decade or more.  Sometimes there is lack of choice and we have to make the best of what there is.  We need to be true to ourselves despite the setbacks of our upbringing, our family, our education, and this is the challenge.  

Life coaching can assist you with:

  • self acceptance
  • recognizing strengths
  • developing loving relationships
  • living independently
  • identifying a career 
  • money management
  • time management
  • conflict resolution

Middle adulthood – "Is this all there is?"

During our middle adult years we are faced with numerous demands made upon us such as our maintaining relationships, building our finances, managing a young family, forging a career, and dealing with conflicting priorities.  At this time, we may become more aware of the need to stay healthy and well to manage these demands.  We may also become aware of self-defeating habits such as smoking, overeating, being a workaholic.  It is also a time of questioning where we are at and where we want to go from here.  It may be a time of self-doubt and regret that we didn’t do things differently.  

Our ability to integrate change and establish new directions into our lives prevents stagnation from occurring.  If we live continually in the past, we lack engagement with the present or the future.  If we give in to second best in our career, we continue a pattern of regret.  This can be a restless time of existential uncertainty, a sense that time is running out but also an exciting time where we strive to learn fresh strategies for moving forward.  

In this stage of our life, life coaching can assist you with:

  • navigating significant transitions involving a passionate re-purpose such as a new baby, divorce, relocation, extended families
  • understanding what ‘success’ and ‘social status’ means in your life and reassessing values 
  • sustaining loving relationships with partners and friends
  • deciding to change career or moving to the next level 
  • looking for spiritual sustenance and creativity
  • seeking balance between work and family life
  • improving health and wellbeing 

Middle to late adulthood – "Changing the agenda"

This  time of our life can be richly textured with many more years ahead of good health and happiness.  During this stage of our lives, we may be facing many significant challenges such as retirement, menopause, redundancy, or death of parents.  Surprisingly, mid life to later life adults can also be a time for experiencing greater introspection and individuation.  We can be more comfortable in our own skin, more willing to establish a deep connection with ourselves and the world.  More willing to take risks.  Often it is a time of ‘giving back’ from a position of wisdom and experience.  A fundamental shift in thinking may occur about how we are to live the rest of our lives which can create a sense of urgency and crystallizes what is most important for us in the ‘here and now’.  During this period we may become aware of the compromises we have made in life’s journey and be more ready to live life to the full.  The results can be deeply enriching.

In this stage of life, life coaching can assist you in:

  • identifying the most authentic way to live more fully aligned with your values
  • staying actively engaged in the workforce
  • making the transition to new ways of living life: family, leisure, travel, hobbies 
  • becoming invested in leadership roles and social contribution
  • building resilience to face the future with optimism
  • learning about and practicing active healthy ageing

Being an Elder – "More of us will live until we are 90 than ever before"

Old age can be a frightening time for some as we come to grips with the reality of death and dis-ease.  The famous actress, Bette Davis famously said:  “Old age is not for sissies!”  How do we develop the courage to walk into the dark night?  This is the last chapter of our life.  The facts are: more and more people remain actively engaged in their lives during this period.  There are medical solutions to problems of age that were not available to our forebears.  We are more aware of our preventing dis-ease than ever before.  More of us will live until we are 90 than ever before.  During our elder years we may still be active and can become mentors to others setting an example for living well and with dignity.  Some people write their memoirs, others record their life story, others find new ways to experience the world through music and art.  As older people we may take time out to reflect on our life, to spend time with loved ones and plan for our departure from this world.  We long to leave a mark and create a legacy.  This may be a time of spiritual sustenance and growth.  We may have times when we experience great joy, an elusive emotion, that only comes with age and maturity.  Strangely, this may be an extraordinarily vibrant time of our life. 

In this stage of life, life coaching can help you with:

  • telling your story and articulating your legacy
  • building supportive relationships
  • dealing with the physical and mental challenges of ageing
  • remaining engaged in social life, cultural life, work life
  • continuing to contribute, be a leader, mentor, or trusted confidante
  • learning and experiencing new things
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