Expectations and Perceptions on Different Stages of Human Life By Cyrill Tan

From the moment we were born to the moment we grow old and to the time we die, the society seem to have built a system which we are supposed to abide with. With the expectations varying from one society to another, I think that independence is a common ground in all societies. How does the society expect human beings to behave from infancy to old age? What are different perceptions on each? An infant is generally perceived by the society as helpless. Without the help of others, it won t survive. They need to be nursed and taken care of all the time. We expect them to do nothing but constantly ask for our assistance on various things. They constantly cry and haven t mastered the art of communication. Human beings are born to this world helpless and dependent on others. As they enter childhood, almost nothing has changed. They are still generally perceived as dependent on older members of the family, most especially their parents. Little by little, they are trained to be independent. Schooling begins and they are expected to learn to be citizens and be taught values and societal norms that they must follow. This is also the beginning of their training to interact with other members of the society those outside their home. Adolescence is when behaviors are expected to change abruptly. Adolescent human beings are expected to behave in manners that might give the people around them a clue to

what they would turn out in the future. They start to have opinions on their own. Their training to be independent, in my opinion, is rather successful as they normally find comfort in spaces outside their home. They no longer want to spend much time with their families and instead spend a lot of time with friends and peers. They are also perceived to be subject to a lot of peer pressure and become vulnerable to many vices like drinking, smoking and others. This rebellious spirit is a common perception of the adolescent human beings in the society, commonly referred to as the youth. Early adulthood of ages 20-30 is a crucial stage in a human being s life as this is the beginning of his search for what he wants to become. This is the stage where one would finish college and enter a career path. This would either make or break his life. Human beings of this age group are normally expected to be career-driven and generally optimistic about their lives. Marriage and raising a family may be at its start in these ages as well. Medial adulthood of ages 31-40 is a result of the toiling or its lacking on the previous years. If one was successful in the career he chose, then it would be reflected in about this time. Optimism vanishes for those who didn t make it. I think it would be clear on human beings of this age group that a hierarchy in the society exists and that the part they re playing (way up or at the bottom) and they part they might be playing in the future becomes clearer and clearer for them. Late adulthood of ages 41-50 is a group where people are expected generally to raise a good family by sending them to good schools and making sure that their future is secured. If

they haven t reached the highest point of their career life, then they might have as well given up since they are readying for retirement. Entering the past middle age, which is above 50 years old, means that the cycle of life is just about to end. You are expected to have ended a wonderful career, saved up enough money till your death, and raised a family to look after you on your last years on earth. This is not at all bad. For those who succeeded, retirement means more time with the family, time for relaxation by going to many different places and finally enjoying life. And so, the cycle of life is simple and yet seems totally illogical. We start life totally dependent on others, live it by fighting for independence and then gaining it only to realize that we would end our lives going back to where we started dependent on others for taking a simple crap.

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