“In our forties we enter a very dramatic stage of life. Many changes go on which call upon us to wake up and re-evaluate our lives. This time is often characterized by continuing crisis and change, and by a sense of rebirth.”
–Tapestries, page 175
Betty Staley remarks upon other changes and characteristics of this seven-year cycle:
- We are more patient with others because we realize we are just starting to understand ourselves.
- We are more relaxed and warm in our relationships.
- We have confidence; we are asked for our opinions regarding matters of life.
- Our personality becomes more individualized
- The temptation of this phase is POWER. “We can be tempted to control other people’s lives and to influence situations through the very force of our personalities.” We have to learn to hold back our energy at times. Developing patience during this seven year cycle is very important. Truthfulness becomes very important.
- This is usually a time of spiritual awakening and connection to the spiritual. Betty Staley writes, “Many people try to avoid dealing with spiritual questions, but it makes a big difference at this age whether we are asleep or awake to such things, for they are the source of our transformation.” (page 177). This general question is so important in Waldorf education as we homeschool; we often hear the same concerns regarding the spirituality in the Waldorf curriculum from both the “religious right” kind of parent and the pagan parent. This is something that MUST be addressed by you, internally and through your inner work and meditation, in order to access the full healing potential of this educational method!
- This is a stage to find balance in as we attend to elderly parents and children. This can also be a stage to balance our decreasing physical bodies with other areas.
- Betty Staley warns that if you do not properly face the changes that belong to this seven year cycle, you can expect an ever bigger crisis in the fifties.
- Friendship is one of the great comforts and joy in this cycle. There also comes a new need for more privacy in both spousal relationships and friendships because there is a need to be alone and a need for companionship. Balance comes into play again.
- “Our late forties and early fifties is a time for discovering the parts of our personality that did not fit in with our previous image of ourselves.” (page 179). For example, a man may suddenly become interested in the home.
Special to Men: Male vulnerability in this phase can make older men appealing to young women. If the man is married, a wife may find it difficult to deal with this softening and mellowing of the spouse’s personality.
Special to Couples: Couples can develop a new loyalty to one another, a new strengthening of love, if both parties can be patient not only with themselves but with the other person. If this does not happen and the couple does not transform their relationship, divorce is very common throughout the decades of the thirties, forties and fifties.
Betty Staley writes about marriage in this period, “ It is during this period that a couple can begin to see marriage as an art form, as the most challenging and complex of all relationships we create. We begin to see that marriage is of our own making, and we must take responsibility for it as a labour of love. This is the most critical turning-point in marriage. If it is not consciously grasped, even a good marriage may reach a natural end.”
I have said it before in this blog, and I know I sound like a broken record, but will say it again: It is worth your time and your energy to nurture your relationship with your spouse. It is very important. Homeschooling your children should not be a substitute for an intimate relationship with the most important person in your life – your partner or spouse. Learn how to make love the verb that it truly is, practice patience with your partner or spouse as you also look objectively at your own personality traits. A mature long-term relationship is scarred, is tender, is happy, is sad, carries the burdens and the joys, is open. Do not miss it.