"What stage of life are you in?"
I was asked this question today. While it seems like a basic question, it really only is on the surface. It is easy to say, "Starting my career," "Young mom (dad)," "Empty nester," etc., and those responses are stated and received with misconstrued-but-often-accepted interpretations. But to truly answer the question? It is so much deeper...
What stage of life are you in? On the surface, I could say "empty nester" and that could come with some completely wrong conclusions on the part of the listener (and for that matter, myself). But that wouldn't be a meaningful answer. True, we don't have children living at home, and true, we don't have the daily routines of driving children to their various activities. Those are very real factors of the child-rearing stage of life.
But even within those demographic stages, we all have stages that are so much deeper, and not always defined by our chronological age nor single/married/children at home/grandparent, etc., stages. They are defined by how we are being led to move, live, create, be, serve, listen, and grow in this world. They are impacted by the lives of those we love in this world, those we are to serve in this world, and who we are as a person.
It's a good question to ask yourself. Your own answer may help you make many decisions...and/or be at peace with the decisions you are already making -- based on how you're being led, and at what deeper stage you really are.
This latter point is my own current lesson. I need to sit with it.
My own areas of growth are to have time for quiet, to see, to photograph, to contemplate, to connect deeply with others one-on-one/God/myself, to have time for creative expression, etc. Those areas of growth are quite different than my perceived expectations (from others and myself) for this stage. They are even quite different from how I actually saw my “self” and my role/stage not long ago. When I listen, my steps will be so much more peaceful, rather than being driven by perceived expectations that I think I have to fulfill. When I don't listen to where I really am right now, it isn't pretty. I know. I just crashed into myself a few weeks ago.