“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” wrote Shakespeare in a passage from As You Like It, where he identified the seven ages of man.
I have just finished reading Mark Manson’s blog post on the same topic, where he states that we can reduce it to just four stages. And since the name of this blog is The Changing Ways – the essence of life is change; nothing ever stays the same – I feel I have to share Mark’s article with my readers.
The four stages that he identifies are: Mimicry, Self-discovery, Commitment, and Legacy.
He says that “at each subsequent stage, happiness becomes based more on internal, controllable values and less on the externalities of the ever-changing outside world.”
Previous stages are not replaced, they are transcended. At each stage your life priorities get reshuffled, but you continue to exhibit some behaviour from previous stages.
I don’t want to put any spoilers here, I recommend that you read the entire article for yourself: The Four Stages of Life.
I will just reveal that it gets deeply philosophical at the end. It reminded me of the famous Tears in rain monologue from Blade Runner.