We are continuously developing throughout the time of our lifespan and most of us will go through the same system or already established foundation as a child.
I strongly believe however that once we enter into the phase called adulthood, these changes become less predictable and based on the choices we make, the outcomes are more diverse.
As an adult the major markers in life are closely linked to personal, social and cultural forces or events that take place.
Unfortunately, there are events or crisis in life which were never planned for and this often alter the decisions that we make going forward.
In most cultures the most popular milestones are starting a job or career, getting married, or having a child. Please note however that not all adults progress along the same common path or structure according to “one big common plan”.
Some people marry very young and others do not marry at all. Some young adults have few options and are forced to begin jobs and become independent immediately after high school, while others have the luxury of continuing their education until they have attained their Ph.D., DSc, LP.D., Ed,D. Psy.D or M.D. just to name a few.
Some people may have several children at a young age while others may make a conscious decision to wait until their 30’s or 40’s to have children. Some adults may want children but regrettably cannot have children or perhaps due to their careers in life, they decide not to have children at all.
Despite the various lifestyle choices, we make as adults, there is a form of internal timing that we each use as a measure of our adult development.
According to my research, the concept of the age clock is often relied upon to identify the different stages of our adult development.
Age clocks lets us know when certain events in life should occur, relative to standards considered typical of the culture in which the person resides.
If important life events or milestones happen too early or later than expected, some people may experience distress or what we can refer to as a “crisis” and based on what that event is, they may not receive the typical peer support when such developments are normally accomplished.
Biologically, a young woman normally cannot conceive after menopause; and if you think about it, psychologically a young adult might not be prepared to handle the stress and constant pressure of a complex and high-level job.
I firmly believe it’s a fine balance all adults must create in order to shape their lives according to their lifespan.
Speaking of lifespan, the most significant historical change affecting the life course of many people is the increasing length of their lifespan.
For example, perhaps in the 1900’s only about 13% of people were expected to reach 80 or older, now more and more people are expected to reach that age. These developments and others like it have changed how we now define our age clocks and how each culture has adjusted the responsibilities most people are likely to encounter at various points in their adult lifespan.
In the Bible, we have an example of Adam’s family age clock and the written account of his family line in the book of Genesis, Chapter 5.
1. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.
2. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.
3. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
4. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters
5. Although, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
Further on in the same chapter between verses 21 to 27 we have an account of the oldest man in the bible.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah.
22 After he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.
23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years.
24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech.
26 After he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters.
27 Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.
Wow! I wonder what the environment was like back then? What did the air smell like? What did the food taste like? What were their lifestyles like in order to preserve and extend their lifespan?
As fascinated as I am by the fantasy of such an extended lifespan, I take heed to what the Apostle Paul said in the bible, in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 3 verses 18 and 19,
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”.
The Apostle Paul writes that this new world in its present form is passing away, but that the Corinthians can give themselves fully to the work of the Lord since their labor is not in vain.
He gave us practical advice and great insight as we each seek to take up our roles in the world today.
1 Corinthians 1:19,
19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate”.
And the Bible continues from verses 20 to 25 to state:
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greek, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
28 God choose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are,
29 So that no one may boast before him.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord”.
So, as we each continue to age or grow older, I believe its important and certainly relevant to create a Professional Portfolio.
The concept of portfolios comes from professions in which the portfolios are used to showcase examples of work or art to prospective clients and employers.
I believe professionals and students alike should be taught how to prepare a portfolio, were they are guided in the selection of materials to be included, they are taught how to recognize the types of capabilities sought by prospective clients and employers and they are shown how to select their best work to illustrate each of their capabilities.
Professional portfolios play a collective or cumulative role and when structured appropriately requires no additional time to be associated with the creation of new products.
In this new technologically advance age, we have become a global society with a global culture and instant communication is now the “new normal”.
In developed countries, knowledge no longer needs to be passed on the traditional way from parent to child, or older adult to an upcoming younger trainee.
Instead, we now have the internet or world wide web- which is changing our work life, making communications between cultures more effective and assisting greatly with trade, business and commerce on a global scale.
Global technology has now provided the necessary bridge to cultural and economic development. Many young adults have been able to make the leap from developing countries to other developing countries through the use of online education and online research of all types.
How do you think computers are affecting the course of our lifespan development? Do you think we have become too dependent and therefore have more time to waste? Or perhaps it’s created more time for social bonding?
I fervently believe however, that whatever your perspective may be, the major milestones in our life are closely linked to the personal, social and cultural choices we make as we move forward in life.