In my next book, Great Decisions, Perfect Timing, I divide life into three stages. The first stage is Self-Discovery, starting at birth and lasting until your first Saturn Return (around 29.5 y/o). Stage One is about learning who you are, what you are good at and what you like to do. How? You try things – especially in any areas of interest that simply fascinate you. Although nearly all of the important decisions are made for you when you are younger, the primary decision you need to start making for yourself between ages eighteen and thirty is “What do I want to learn next?” You honor your innate curiosity and, as long as it’s not harming anyone (including yourself), you experiment.
Many young adults feel tremendous pressure to make long-term, even lifetime, decisions about career and relationships. It’s easy for college kids to feel like there is something wrong with them if they cannot confidently declare what they are going to be when they grow up, let alone choose a study major. In our performance-based, celebrity drunk culture, many compare themselves with prodigies of entertainment, sports or business and feel that there is something wrong with themselves by comparison. Unfortunately, magical thinking never produces reasonable or healthy expectations and distracts from the process of discovering what you are good at and useful for. It is amazing when a person gets started on the right career path as a child, but that is extremely rare. There are not many like the great violinist, Itzhak Perlman, who, at age four, smashed the toy violin he was given because it didn’t sound right. Most of us don’t have that kind of sensibility at a young age. And, for every Itzhak Perlman, there are many former child ‘stars’ who have tremendous trouble finding their true selves later in life.
According to the Visionary Decision Making approach, making binding long-term commitments is discouraged during Stage One. This is the time of life to explore as many of your natural interests as possible, to grow into yourself and to let your brain complete its growth (which doesn’t end until about age 26) in alignment with whatever truly fascinates you. It is the time of life to try your hand at whatever you want without being weighed down by the pressure of having to make binding decisions (or assuming crippling long-term debts) that you are not yet prepared to make.
Stage Two, the second Saturn cycle, is the period of Providing/Accomplishment, which typically lasts from about age thirty to until sixty. This is followed by Stage Three, the Patron/ /Mentor phase. Even though our priorities and the decisions we focus on shift as we evolve from one stage to the next, strategic decision-making applies to each of the stages, just with a different focus. We may look at these in future posts.
Request: Please go to www.divination.com/survey/fascinations and help us with a survey of what grabbed your attention during the first third of your life. There you can answer a couple of questions that could lead to an anecdote about the evolutionary power of fascinations in my next book, Great Decisions, Perfect Timing.