26 to 32 years of age
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another!
– Gail Sheehy
During young adulthood, 26–32 year olds face new challenges with self-identity, career, and relationships. It’s a time of life when they are called to become adults by taking responsibility for who they truly are. While other cultures have recognized the significance of this period, calling it among other things, the “Second Maturational Crisis” or “Saturn Return,” our culture overlooks it, leaving people unprepared. For those who aren’t ready, typical problems include being stuck in disturbing patterns, having a job that is unfulfilling (or not being able to stay employed), not being able to build intimacy, struggling with anger, and/or feeling that one’s parents are impacting too many of one’s decisions. These problems can lead to most of these years being spent in conflict or confusion. In the absence of help, one can feel that the outcome will be either a deadening of self or a sense that one’s losing one’s way.
The good news is that this is a transitional time in life. Natural forces create an immense potential for growth and development. These forces of growth can help make it a rewarding time to find and claim a truer sense of self. Helpful guidance can assist one in engaging these forces to successfully resolve problems and build a positive foundation for one’s next steps in life. Gaining greater clarity during this time can result in making decisions that feel more natural and that build a deeper feeling of happiness. When this is done, the outcome can be a feeling of having finally found one’s place, much like the swan in “The Ugly Duckling.”