Gail Sheehy’s “Predictable Crises of Adulthood” Essay Example
Gail Sheehy’s “Predictable Crises of Adulthood” Essay Example

Gail Sheehy’s “Predictable Crises of Adulthood” Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (995 words)
  • Published: November 4, 2017
  • Type: Analysis
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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 their lives. The first step of Sheehy’s ladder is known as the “Pulling up



” In this stage, the eighteen-year olds motto is: “I want freedom from my parents. ” College, for most, is the mode of transportation for teenagers to get away from home. Although this is what they wanted, after awhile they soon realize how much experience they lack in living alone. Friends become the substitute for parents and siblings, and there are no restrictions and limitations.

The moment they diverge from the friend circle, they are seen as outcasts, and the feeling of being lost starts to kick in. Sheehy predicts that “rebounds” to the family are noticeable between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. This first stage of Sheehy’s prediction is when the teenagers are uncertain of themselves when facing a peer group or sex role situation. Having some experience because of the first stage, one becomes more

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mature and asks the question of how to manage in the adult world.

In this stage, the “Trying Twenties”, one starts to plan ahead and think about the future.Doing what one “should” is the main theme for this stage. People base the “shoulds” on the prevailing notions of their families and cultural lifestyles. A common misconception of the twenties is the idea that the choices that one makes are permanent. Also, during this stage, some start to make strong obligations to “be set” for the future. On the other hand, others are free to search and experiment with different options and thus have a tentative schedule.

The “Catch-30” stage is the reality of all the beliefs and concepts one may have had during the “Trying Twenties” stage.Both genders feel “narrow and restricted” and blaming one another becomes common between friends and families. Most of the topics which turn into debates and arguments are related to career and personal choices of a person’s twenties. Choices which may have sounded perfectly appropriate during the “Trying Twenties” now seem unfit and unsuitable.

Everything seems to be contradictory from the previous stage, such as the life which was built during the twenties for the future. The idea of getting married becomes important, and “the single person feels a push to find a partner. Couples already married start thinking of having children and building families. Arguments between couples are frequent, especially with those who are married for over a decade. The feeling of dissatisfaction is natural among older couples, and divorce may seem to be the only route for agreement.

Lack of care and support among couples is what primarily

sums up the “Catch-30” stage. Inconsistency and selfishness from the “Catch-30” stage turns into rationality and order in the early thirties. This is the “Rooting and Extending” stage where one is known to mature.People lay out their future with settled decisions, such as buying houses, maintaining families, and having the motivation to reach the peak of their career ladder.

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 earlier stages. Friends also become valuable and worthy, and the remaining years are noted by Sheehy as the “best years. ”Starting from being a teenager to being an adult, one goes through numerous stages as noted in, “Predictable Crisis of Adulthood.

” Sheehy’s own predictions of one’s behavior, attitude, and actions are thoroughly explained in her six stages of life. Sheehy groups these six stages according to age and says that one starts to value time as he or she ages. In the early stages, one goes through turmoils and uncertainties and becomes vulnerable. However, as time passes, it is expected and foreseeable that one will soon be optimistic, make mature decisions, and will learn to find ways to understand and appreciate life.

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