Stages of Life – Rearranged, not Missing

Here’s the mainstream theory: as you grow up, everyone goes through the same stages of life. Terrible twos, angsty teens, adventurous twenties. . . There are plenty more in there but you get the point.

New theory: everyone goes through the same stages, just not necessarily in the same order or at the same age. This means you could display ‘the terrible twos’ when you’re thirty-six, angsty teen years may appear in your twenties, carefree child years in your fifties. . .

It makes sense I guess – we’re all human, but we’re all unique. And some of us are plain contrary! So why not?

This came up because I was feeling a bit down having watched a film (can’t remember what but it wasn’t anything serious) where they were saying how brilliant your twenties are. It reminded me of something/someone else going on about how the teenage years were best. Both films described these years as fun, exciting, crazy, the time for finding yourself and experimenting and travelling. . . I did none of that. These years weren’t necessarily bad for me but they certainly slipped by quietly, without any fanfare or huge events.

Had I missed out? Again?

According to this theory, maybe not. I still have a chance, those ‘best years’ may still be ahead of me! I did my terrible twos and angsty teens between the ages of one and— well, people disagree on when exactly I got over it, but by ten or so I was being a reasonable human being. My teen years were unremarkable, filled with trying to get through school with some reasonable grades at the end. My twenties (which, for those interested, I’m still in although nearing the end of) have been. . . well, I’m not entirely sure what happened to them. They started with university, then were marked by episodes of health and illness. Never leaving me well long enough to do more than start applying for jobs, which in a way was good I guess because it left me free to help out my gran. (When I was well, obviously)

The point being, I’ve done the terribles, the angsty, the responsible. Maybe the fun, exciting, experimental whatevers are still to come. I’m not looking for anything too extreme or crazy, just maybe something of note. Something not necessarily good but hopefully not bad, that I can look back on and say, ‘ah, those were the years!’

Here’s hoping!


Getting Back on Track

navigation-154923_640.png“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” Ellen Glasgow.


Something I sometimes struggle to accept is that steps back or to the side are just as natural and inevitable as those taking you forward. That changes can make things worse as well as better, or leave you back in the same place you started out from.

Having said that, the variability, the no warning, the two steps forward one step back of ME/CFS make it a stinker all right. But my latest bout did get me thinking (once I was able to) that although I only missed a couple of weeks, I’m already out of the habit of posting here. I had to remind myself I was meant to be doing a post, make myself to start typing, counsel patience when it didn’t come easily and when I had to delete half of it when I went off topic. It had all been so simple before. Now it feels forced and awkward. Of course I’ll persevere, and before I know it I’ll be back on track. Back to the way things were.

The point is though that change, big or small, wanted or not, tends to do one of two things:

  1. Make you want to go back to the way things were, whether or not that’s possible.
  2. Enable you to embrace the new, and even make you want more.

Depending on the situation, either of these can be positive or negative. For example, often people who’ve been ill want to get better, back to the way they were. This can be a driving force if you can get better, or something that could hold you back if a full recovery isn’t possible. At other times, being ill makes people re-evaluate their whole life. Changes made at this time are often for the good, but not always.

Another example is moving house. Memories of your previous home may bring you comfort, however yearning for what is past will probably keep you from making the most of new opportunities. As a catalyst, moving house might encourage you to make personal changes as well as geographical ones, so you re-consider how you present yourself to the world, and how you interact with it. (In other words, your personality and attitudes, your appearance, how and where you spend your time etc.) On the other hand, a desire to ‘throw out the old and bring on the new’ may leave you with regrets: the old family photos you threw out, the friends you no longer get on with because you’ve changed.

The funny thing is, getting into a new or old routine – getting back to normal, whatever that may mean to you – will be terribly hard and terribly easy. Often both at the same time. It will also happen when you’re not looking, and far sooner than you think! One day you’ll wake up and realise that whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re doing it, it doesn’t feel strange anymore. New becomes normal.

Change is a fact life. It’s a fact of death too. Therefore it’s inescapable, and while it won’t always be for the good, resisting change is like bringing out that playground chant: ‘rain, rain go away, come again anther day.’ Sometimes it appears to work, sometimes it doesn’t, but that rain will always come back, and if it didn’t the flowers wouldn’t grow.

(Apologies for the philosophical leaning of this post, but that was the way it wanted to be written, and sometimes you just have to give in to these things!)