What You Have, Gain, Lose and Lack At Each Stage In Your Life

Life has its ups and downs, and always will. Unfortunately, we tend to focus on the negative parts of our life instead of all the positives, until times change and the positives turn into negatives and vice versa. So that you can start focusing on the positives of your age now, plus prepare for the future, we have compiled this list.

Baby (0–1 years)

Let’s start right at the beginning. This is what you had, gained, lost and lack in your first year of life:

Had: everything is new and extremely exciting, you feel an overwhelming sense of being-taken-cared-for, you don’t even know what work is, no uncomfortable self-reflection

Gained: basic understanding of world and body, connection to parents and family, crawling

Lacked: at times you feel very vulnerable and scared because you don’t know what is going on, you can’t think complex thoughts, you have almost no knowledge, you have no control over the situation

Lost: there is nothing to lose yet

Toddler–Preschooler (1–4 years)

You are starting to make some serious progress:

Had: everything is still about having fun and playing and feeling super pumped-up on dopamine

Gained: crawling, walking, talking, independence, friends

Lacked: control over situation

Lost: a degree of parental care and attention

Primary School (5–12 years)

Had: everything is still super interesting and fun, still engaged with world in a way that you can only be if you lack self-reflection, most children are extremely healthy

Gained: first serious friends

Lacked: ability to go anywhere except school or home without your parents

Lost: now you have to do work for the first time (at school)

High School (12–18 years)

Had: still lots of free time and lunch breaks

Gained: emotional depth, romantic feelings and even relationships, ability to go places without your parents, some choice in what work you do

Lacked: income, wealth, clear thinking, worldly knowledge, perspective, more susceptible to mental health issues

Lost: a lot of the ‘joy of childhood’, you gained an uncomfortable sense of self-reflection, awkward changes in body, starting doing some serious work, being ‘cute’

University (18–~20 years)

Had: lots of vacations, a lot of the world is still very new and interesting, your life still has a lot of potential and possibility, not much responsibility, most young adults enjoy very good health

Gained: independence, lots of choice, alcohol, serious romantic relationships, rising intelligence, clearer thinking, less teenage anxiety and improving mental health, physical attractiveness

Lacked: money, still very structured lifestyle

Lost: now things have more consequences educationally, financially, romantically and legally, education costs a lot of money now, much less free time

Young Adulthood (~20–40 years)

Had: relatively good health

Gained: money, responsibility, knowledge, stability, independence, no institutional structure anymore, committed relationships

Lacked: many adults start to get bored and lack fun in their lives, much less free time

Lost: there is more responsibility now, more boredom, brain function starts to decline

Middle Adulthood (40–65 years)

Had: wealth, stability, experience

Gained: mental health, better understanding of how to be happy, money, the world has become more advanced since you were younger, starting a family

Lacked: there is a lot of responsibility on you, but unless you have a health/debt/other serious problem, you should have it good

Lost: trend of declining health and cognitive function, some loss of physical attractiveness, sometimes decline in intimacy in relationships, less things that are still novel and exciting to you

Older Adulthood (65+ years)

Had: knowledge, respect, accomplishment, lack of anxiety over future

Gained: acceptance, reduced workload, seeing your family grow up and live their own life

Lacked: some lack money, intimacy, mental and physical health

Lost: eventually, we will all lose everything in our life, but thankfully if you have reached a good age, then you can have a sense of acceptance and a real understanding of how to best spend your time

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