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  • Individuation, Our 40s & 50s, & Major Life Transitions

    major life transitions
    At a time in our culture when people are focussed on the individuation process, in their 40s and 50s, major life transitions seem to now be occurring with ever greater frequency.  How can we cope?

    At a stage in life that once would have been a time of consolidation and reflection — the essence of individuation — people are encountering circumstances that are impinging on their lives.  Workplaces are nowhere near as stable as they were even 30 years ago.  Neither are family units.  Major life transitions are often making people less willing to connect, and much more isolated and alone than in previous times.

    Stress from Imposed Change and Demands

    Greatly increased levels of stress are the result.  People are often feeling trapped in their situations.  For instance, they feel work related stress resulting from needing to continuously adapt to change.  They often feel, overall, that they are facing their lives with too few resources, and considerable economic uncertainty.

    It’s Different than it was Even 20 Years Ago

    The rapid pace of change in our lives means that many people in their 40s, 50s and 60s have no effective role model or mentor for a phase in their lives that is often of great importance for individuation.  Individuals often feel that they are dealing with situations for which they have no effective roadmap.   They feel that they confront more and more that is uncontrollable and unpredictable, and this can easily result in individuals making their lives smaller and smaller .

    It’s the Same as it was 100,000 Years Ago

    Yet for all of us, there are certain common elements to the human journey.  As for our distant ancestors, there is a need deep in us for meaning, and for a stable sense of self.  There is an overwhelming need for a sense of being rooted in the cosmos, and for a sense that the journey each of us is on in our lives is one that truly matters to us personally.  In our time, the search for this kind of meaning, the process of individuation, involves encounter with the depths of the self.

    Often the best way to further that process is through entering into /a-midlife-transition such as Jungian analysis.  The resilience needed to survive creatively through the major life transitions of our time stems from the awareness of the solidity and rootedness of the self, grounded in the truth and hope of our own personal myth.


    PHOTO: © Alon Othnay |
    © 2011 Brian Collinson
    2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, ON (near Mississauga

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