Gail Sheehy’s “Predictable Crises of Adulthood” Essay

993 Words Sep 26th, 2008 4 Pages
Did one ever wonder why a person’s characteristics and behavior change when he or she experiences different stages of life? Also, can one predict what kind of life he or she will lead during the next stage, depending on his or her age? Just as the title of the passage suggests, Sheehy predicts different stages that most people experience between the ages of eighteen and fifty. She uses age as a major factor to indentify and categorize the human stage into six stages: “Pulling Up Roots”, the “Trying Twenties”, “Catch-30”, “Rooting and Extending”, the “Deadline Decade”, and lastly “Renewal or Resignation.” Sheehy refers to her self-proclaimed stages of life as the “developmental ladder” in which everyone will go through at some point in …show more content…
This is the shortest period of Sheehy’s six stages of life. The “Rooting and Extending” stage transitions to the “Deadline Decade” stage, between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five, which marks a person’s halfway point. Time now becomes the central factor since there seems to be a sense of urgency: “it is a time of both danger and opportunity.” One has the option of revising his or her narrow identity. The “Deadline Decade” stage is the time to make final decisions since it marks the half way point of life. One seems to be vulnerable, uncertain, and alone when making new decisions. People realize that they do not need to ask others for permission or assistance, which was the prevalent in the first half of life. For most people, this stage is the time when they seek second careers in midlife. Also, during this period, interest in “developing an ethical self” seems common. The final step of Sheehy’s “developmental ladder” is the “Renewal or Resignation” stage in which stability and balance are regained. If one did not risk the chance to change for the better during the “Deadline Decade,” he or she will feel a “sense of staleness.” One may get depressed, realizing that he or she should have taken the step forward before. Those who have confronted themselves in the earlier stage and took the challenge for renewal now find themselves eager to appreciate life better. At the age of fifty, there is a “new warmth and mellowing,” previously lacking in their

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