Knibbe's Korner: Life's Shifting Stages


Life’s Shifting Stages

We measure time by milestones, significant events in life marked by age. For instance, we know the age when one is old enough to drive, to vote, to drink alcohol and to collect Medicare. A recent study looked at the question “Are life’s important milestones shifting?” The study revealed that people in their 20s and 30s have important goals that are similar to their 60 and 70-year-old counterparts. According to this new report, from the Stanford Center on Longevity, important life goals such as marrying, buying homes, and starting families are the same as previous generations. However, what the study did find is, although these important goals are the same, the 20-30-year-olds have shifted them to later in life vs. the 70 + generation. As a result of the shifting of life’s milestones in early adulthood, there is a shifting of milestones in late adulthood. In addition, with an increase in life expectancy, this prompts a new language to describe the future stages of life and age categories. The following is a comparison between “Recent Past” life stages and ages and those in the “Near Future” along with new language to describe each stage.


Understandably a new way to describe the life stages and age categories will have an impact on how we organize our cultural, social, and government services. It will also influence the language we use. If you have thoughts or ideas in this area, I would love to hear from you.

Grace and Shalom,

Dave Knibbe

President and CEO of Evergreen Commons