life stages…the life cycle….of humans


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i never really noticed that there are such definite life stages…. although sometimes you can take them slightly out of synch…but there really are…we are frog-spawn…tadpole…without legs …and legs…and frogs…just as definable.

  1. childhood…early childhood – preschool. I had so little memories of this. But then i was sent of to school at 3…not i think through cruelty, but though extended family pressure. my aunt taught in a school that needed numbers to stay open, so i was sent out there to help to keep the number on the role up…not through any other reasons. 
  2. primary school – real childhood. were they happy for me? NO. i don’t really think so. But often when i recall my days, i query was i odd, or maybe even an undiagnosed autistic. The only clear memories that i have were of being too young to be with my year group. That meant i was vulnerable, and accessible through my innocence to being the butt of the humour and intelligent enough to know when that was the case! I do remember individual things, but have no overall collection of feeling bullied, maybe that’s one of the reasons i think i may have been autistic – i seemed to have a shell to retreat into. PLUS i had my music…always there with me and in me. my own wee world…i practiced for hours..yes was dragged around on my teacher’s advice at such a young age as i had a high standard…like a performing seal round feiseanna and festivals..but meant nothing to me. In fact the fact that one who doesn’t exist took all my medals annoys me just on principle.
  3. teenager -secondary school. Wow ….was i a rebel…..? NO! I was abused at summer between schools which lived closed away in me for years. I was now VERY immature and not remotely as worldly as my peers. I was so much the butt of the jokes, and now old enough to sense it. was i friendless? no! i just gravitated to the year behind me and enjoyed my time socialising with them. But no discos, no challenges to parents, no alcohol, no boyfriends…but i don’t think i pushed any boundaries  was possibly happy to have had NO as an answer. So i studied  i had my music. Although i was used musically. Grades and exams were all done by the time i was 12…so was a free accompanist for the nuns and choirs throughout the remaining 5 school years. did i gripe? did i heck! NO!…little miss amenable.
  4. college – i think i deliberately chose a college where i could develop a personality, BECOME a ME, and write a plot where i did exist. I became a person, with friends, with a sense for the first time of ME. They were good days… although every so often the self-doubt would rear its ugly head, they were mainly developmental years.
  5. young adult after college…early job…again little biddable me, took on a job offered to me, rather than pushing it aside to do what I wanted to do….or did  i really want it enough? would i like to have been brave or was i really looking for a cop out of the more risky job options?? At this stage had met my hubby and was so sure was going to settle with him, but took us a few years and a lot of mental health problems for me to get there. In these years i was bullied by someone who now doesn’t exist, had NO ability to stand up on my feet and say NO!…my way of coping was to work, work, work…so I was not in control of the time i spent teaching – was almost until bedtime…but we worked through those years.
  6. child-producing years – and established in work these were good years, We married young, relative to all our friends. We had our first 2 children young, relative to all our fiends. So we had no words of wisdom or experience at many stages when we may have benefitted….PLUS….i had finally grown a spine. Was it the prospective of having the family? feeling that strength? i don’t know but now my job flowed – i was n charge! I was damned good at it, i enjoyed it, and it had a place in my life…but was NOT my life. my family were that. I had also managed to crawl out of childhood of the years when we feel that parents know all……i knew now that they were not the oracle of information and life experience  and saw them as equals now, with blemishes and all. These are the years when all your friends get married….when you spend a fortune on outfits, presents and hotel rooms and in our case babysitters!
  7. your teenagers .merits a section ALL on its own. but in our case we had decided bigger house, and bigger family, so we were struggling through the “my parents know NOTHING” attitude and still doing bouncy castle parties at the same time! NOW, coming out the other side, this was probably the time when friends recovered social lives…we just recovered from the “punch-bag-period” on the TEENS! Now on reflection am so glad we had these years but they were tough. We survived hand grenades thrown at us during this period. but we are ALL stronger out this end.
  8. middle-age which i hit early! my health had taken on board a lot of what last years had shed off, and i had to retire from work…my better and fitter half was the driving force, I was the crock . But the liberty of retirement over shadowed the shock of acceptance that i had become so unwell and so sedentary for a few years. So i didn’t notice the grieving i was doing for my health and youth that i was hiding at first. Teens are now at college. so i get time to dwell on “why do i feel so shit?”…as i am depressed at my limitations! This was when lovingly and to cheer me up, OH says one day as i am crippled on the sofa…” well at least you still have your brain”…thus the blog title.
  9. serious illness hit us BANG. Cancer, adverse drug reactions, depression, heart conditions, permanent pain, brain abnormality, chiari malformation, hyper somnolence, degenerative illness, rare conditions ..and am stopping now…that is NOT them all! Husband has now also had to retire. We have to learn how to live – as for us, old age, and middle age, and even looking now and again at mortality is all interwoven. We are now on the wake invitation list. We have buried my husbands father, my mum is being cared for 24/7 by my father, I can barely move without pain, we drive somewhere  and we need a sleep.so many friends are so seriously ill…so much time spend dealing with specialists and comparing stories with friends …..But are thoroughly enjoying our children. So what stage comes next?
  10. oldage? grandparents? all children at college? …..I dont want to know…for NOW i want to enjoy where i am as best i can…day by day!…but the dreams that i HELD naiavely for “retirement near the sea”.. pipe dreams. Just let me have more LIFE please.

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5 comments

  1. Helen, this post really resonated with me, especially as I have done a lot of life history research as in my work as a sociologist. I find people’s lives absolutely fascinating but also the extent to which so many people deviate (either by choice or otherwise) from ‘the life stages’ as set out above. Great post!

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