Here is a peek into some developmental characteristics of this seven-year cycle:
Betty Staley writes, “In our twenties we often live in the intensity of impulse rather than through feelings which have been tempered by thought. Steiner calls this time the period of the Sentient Soul. It is a time when young people are building up experiences and meeting the world with vigor and enthusiasm, a time of enjoying sensations and pursuing adventures, of dreaming into the future and being full of hope and confidence.”
She mentions in our twenties we usually do one of two things: what we think we should, or we rebel against what is expected. Usually we only stand on our own two feet, with our own thoughts and understanding the results of our actions more when we are in our late twenties.
“The mood of this 21-28 period is one of egotism. We are the center of our thoughts, and we feel satisfied when we fulfill our personal goals and objectives.”
On page 81, Betty Staley mentions marriage in the twenties as often being difficult because we lack life experience. She talks about the hidden qualities that can occur as a wife, homemaker, and mother in our twenties (although I think many of us experienced this when we became mothers!):
“The young woman who is trying to approach life consciously can find her time at home with a child or children a maturing experience. If she can take a broad view of the responsibilities she has, she can see that this part of her life poses her with challenges in self-development. It is easy for her to get “pulled out of herself” into constant activity, but she can work to focus herself. Taking care of young children and all the household details is a very grounding experience. She has to come to terms with details, with time-tables, with establishing a routine, with being concerned about others, with establishing an atmosphere in the home. All of this presents an opportunity for growth.”
She also goes into significant detail about the changes men face during this time period as they face whether or not marriage and children live up to the vision they created in their head, financial worries, the concern and thought that he needs “to make it” in his career by age 35.
She also talks about the crisis of the late twenties in working women who are wondering if career or children is the right path for them; and also the crisis of the late twenties faced by couples who married in their early twenties. She writes that, “The inner work of maturing is often cut short by early marriage. This may seem contradictory since the young people are having to deal with issues of responsibility: compromising with each other, putting the needs of a child before their own, facing serious responsibilities – while unmarried friends are doing what they like, when they like. Dealing with such situations does bring a sense of responsibility, but it doesn’t necessarily bring inner growth. We are more likely to slip into expected roles without thinking. Our own personalities have not yet developed independently, so we bring an immature “self” to the relationship rather than one which has learned to stand on its own, solve problems and know what it wants by passing through a necessary phase of self-centredness.”
Lest you think the author is against marriage in one’s twenties, she does write that these marriages often work, but many times come under great strain as the people within the marriage mature, and how it takes strong commitment and desire to hold the marriage together.
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