Boomers, more so than any other generation before us, tend to be interested and somewhat mystified with the aging process. We like feeling young and we never thought we might grow “old.”
But, at some point it hits us and maybe even shocks us a little, to realize we are now in a different stage of life. We can’t go back, only forward, adjusting as best we can to the changes. It helps to have some guidelines.
The traditions coming out of ancient India offer some interesting and very helpful suggestions. They can be a simple framework of life-planning which can shed some more light on what can be challenging transitions. They suggest how to grow and expand, throughout each of the four, approximately 25-year-long stages.
The first stage may be called “The Scholar” and goes from birth to about 25 years old. This stage forms the foundation of our lifestyle. The focus in these years is on healthy, positive training and discipline as we study school subjects and also learn about spiritual, community and family life.
Nothing in excess is advised for this stage, and celibacy is recommended. You are asked to have self-control while focusing on learning and preparing for the adult life. It is suggested that instead of pursuing worldly desires and satisfactions, the time is much better spent learning that which will help guarantee a successful career and building a healthy family life.
The second stage is “The Householder.” From about age 25 to 55 is the time to “make a living” and move up the career ladder in order to be able to have what you need in worldly goods.
It is in this stage you create a family with a spouse and children. There are now duties and responsibilities to that family. You become involved in the community, especially in the schools where your children are educated. Religious or spiritual practices are done within the context of worldly life and while in service to others.