Thursday, 5 June 2014

7 Year Life Cycles And Where You Fit In

Celebrating a birthday is supposed to be a joyous affair, but as I hit forty-two a couple of weeks ago, all I could think about was how dry my hair was lately and why it was getting so damn hard to shift the pesky pounds around my stomach.

Then I realised I had just entered my seventh life cycle.  Confused?  Stay with me...

Many of us have heard the old saying that all the cells in our body change over a period of seven years, this is in fact tosh as our cells are dying and being replaced all the time.  For example; our red blood cells replace after four months, white blood cells after a year.  Sperm cells last just three days and our brain cells die off but are never replaced. 

So my urgent need to purchase uber-moisturising shampoo and a pair of spanx had nothing to do with my body chemistry.

I was interested to discover that emotional and mental changes do seem to occur approximately every seven years:

  • 0-7 years
  • 7-14 years
  • 14-21 years
  • 21-28 years
  • 28-35 years
  • 35-42 years
  • 42-49 years
  • 49-56 years
  • 56-63 years
  • 63-70 years

So what was in store for me as I reached my forty-second year?  Was my whole personality about to change?  Would I suddenly become more tolerant, an intellectual thinker or start to understand politics?  Okay, that's a step too far, but according to Rudolph Steiner, a teacher of Anthroposophy, I was indeed heading for a few changes.

  1. 0-7 years.  These years are the most important as they are the beginning of everything.  Your potential and personality forms during this cycle.  You learn a huge amount about yourself, your environment, what's good or bad and you develop a sense of awareness.

  • 7-14 years.  This is when the physical changes kick in together with your growing personality.  Your thymus gland shrinks rapidly which allows your development of right and wrong.  Of course as the thymus shrinks your sexual organs develop and then it's that beautiful time called puberty!  With three teenagers under my roof I can relate to this life cycle only too well!

  • 14-21 years.  This is when your range of emotions expands and you begin to appreciate people and things (books/music etc.) in a new way.  You may want to mover away from your parents during this time as you learn to be independent.  With your new emotions you tend to be impulsive when it comes to sex and relationships, but the boyfriend you choose at sixteen won't be who you would choose at twenty-six.

  • 21-28 years.  This is when you emotionally and mentally become an adult.  Your career begins to take off and your relationships deepen.  This is when you may confront any lingering childhood issues.  If you don't handle these issues then they can become limiting beliefs which hold you back in many areas of your life.

  • 28-35 years.  Your creativity soars during this life cycle, in fact, some of the most influential inventors and researchers achieved their best work at the age of thirty-five.  You can take a step back and evaluate your personality and emotional influences at this time.

  • 35-42 years.  You want to share what you've learnt so far and you can become a bit restless.  It's a time to look at what you are doing with your life, friendships, career and see if there's space for change.  It's time to face up to what isn't working.  This is very true for me, I was thirty-six when I started my own business, changing my entire way of life to accommodate my new challenges.

  • 42-49 years.  Apparently this is the cycle when major changes take place.  According to Steiner, I will be taking all my life experiences, digesting them and extracting new ideals and a new direction.  How apt that as I reach forty-two I am concentrating more on my writing, having published two books recently with a debut fantasy novel at the proof-reading stage.  I have reached the mid point of my life and this is a pivotal time to change partners, life and/or personal direction.  It's a time to discover a new found confidence in yourselves and shed the stereotypical roles. 

  • 49-56 years.  Your physical body changes in this stage, you notice your vitality and strength is waning and so you direct your attention to your inner well being.  It's a period where you adapt to your new body. 

  • 56-63 years.  How you deal with relationships shifts around this time.  You are at peace with yourself and enjoy an inner tranquillity.  This is a time to shift and adjust both externally and internally.  The old ways in which you dealt with situations and people begin to change.

  • 63-70 years.  You have a deeper understanding about life and yourself during this stage.  You can appreciate your friends and can look for the good in people.  Your external pressures tend to be less during this stage and so you are able to concentrate on the choices that are open to you.

Of course this is an incredibly brief overview of Steiner's intensive research, and with our own free will it is more than likely that these cycles do not match our true lives.

I did however, find quite a few similarities between my own life path and Steiner's findings.  Watching my own children grow I can also see quite clearly how they are developing within their age range.  What this research did confirm to me is how important it is to live each day to the full.

Holding on to past memories, issues and habits can be detrimental to our self development, and I for one plan on getting to seventy-plus with more than enough vitality and creativity to last!

So, maybe my dry hair and expanding waistline means I'm heading down the menopause route or maybe it's simply time to change my conditioner, whatever the reason for these changes I am happy to know that my best years are still ahead of me.

Does this ring true for you?  Have you followed the seven year cycles?

I'd love to hear what you think so please leave me a comment below.



  1. Hi Shelley, this was fun, not heard of the 7 year cycle, but it seems obvious now, like you I'm in the 40's bracket and enjoying the new ways

  2. I just turned 42 and wow does this resonate! For some reason it's hit me much more dramatically than turning 40. I am definitely feeling restless and in need of change. I am going to read up on this life cycle thing, thanks! :-)

    1. I can relate to that, Steff. I loved turning 40, it felt so grown up haha. I'm 45 this year and appear to be resonating strongly with this cycle! :)