William Shakespeare wrote the classic statement on stages. It is worth revisiting at: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/all-the-world-s-a-stage/
Recently I have been reminded of Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages (http://psychology.about.com/library/bl_psychosocial_summary.htm). Actually, I have not thought of them much in recent years. When I taught psychology a long time ago they were of interest but at that time I was looking upward from the earlier stages. Now “all of a sudden” I am looking back down the list and seeing what has happened rather than what will or might happen in my life.
I have not been a great advocate of stage theories but they are interesting in their descriptive rather than prescriptive character. Stages tell us what is a general pattern of development in our lives as we age; not what will happen of some biological necessity.
For some time I have lived in the seventh stage of “Middle Adulthood” but it looks like I am going to have to move on to “Maturity” whether I like it or not. Reflecting on life cannot be avoided as my body and mind tell me that I will not live forever and I need to be mindful of various bodily limitations.
The challenge is to keep growing and being useful to yourself and others (generative, as Erikson calls it) and maintaining integrity of mind and heart. Sounds like wisdom to me.
Here are 7 encouraging verses about the way of wisdom from the English Standard Version which are applicable in all stages of life:
1. James 1:5 — If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
2. James 3:17 — But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
3. Ephesians 5:15-17 — Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
4. Proverbs 3:13-18 — Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
5. Proverbs 12:15 — The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
6. Proverbs 18:15 — An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
7. Colossians 3:16 — Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.