Gail Sheehy’s “Predictable Crises of Adulthood”

Topics: Future, Personal life, Time Pages: 3 (1005 words) Published: October 8, 2008
Did one ever wonder why a person’s characteristics and behavior change when he or she experiences different stages of life? Also, can one predict what kind of life he or she will lead during the next stage, depending on his or her age? Just as the title of the passage suggests, Sheehy predicts different stages that most people experience between the ages of eighteen and fifty. She uses age as a major factor to indentify and categorize the human stage into six stages: “Pulling Up Roots”, the “Trying Twenties”, “Catch-30”, “Rooting and Extending”, the “Deadline Decade”, and lastly “Renewal or Resignation.” Sheehy refers to her self-proclaimed stages of life as the “developmental ladder” in which everyone will go through at some point in their lives.

The first step of Sheehy’s ladder is known as the “Pulling up Roots.” In this stage, the eighteen-year olds motto is: “I want freedom from my parents.” College, for most, is the mode of transportation for teenagers to get away from home. Although this is what they wanted, after awhile they soon realize how much experience they lack in living alone. Friends become the substitute for parents and siblings, and there are no restrictions and limitations. The moment they diverge from the friend circle, they are seen as outcasts, and the feeling of being lost starts to kick in. Sheehy predicts that “rebounds” to the family are noticeable between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. This first stage of Sheehy’s prediction is when the teenagers are uncertain of themselves when facing a peer group or sex role situation.

Having some experience because of the first stage, one becomes more mature and asks the question of how to manage in the adult world. In this stage, the “Trying Twenties”, one starts to plan ahead and think about the future. Doing what one “should” is the main theme for this stage. People base the “shoulds” on the prevailing notions of their families and cultural lifestyles. A common misconception of the...
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