Life stages

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Addiction Ageing and death Childhood and adolescence Cognition and intelligence Consciousness and altered states Family life Gender and identity Language and linguistics Life stages Love and friendship Mental health Mood and emotion Neurodiversity Neuroscience Personality Pleasure and pain Psychiatry and psychotherapy Self-improvement Sex and sexuality Sleep and dreams Social psychology Spirituality Teaching and learning Technology and the self Wellbeing

Shanghai, July 2012. All photos by Bruno Barbey/Magnum

Demography and migration
The balinghou

Chinese parents bemoan their children’s laziness and greed, but this generation of young people has had enough

James Palmer

Photo by Lloyd Arnold/Hulton Archive/Getty
Cognition and intelligence
The power of story

Across time and culture, stories have been agents of personal transformation – in part because they change our brains

Elizabeth Svoboda

Exit the freeway at 39.  Photo by Nadine Rovner/Gallery Stock

Life stages
Awaiting renewal

I’m 43 years old now, damn it, and my life is amazing. So why am I comparing myself to some styled professional?

Heather Havrilesky

Photo by Alex Webb/Magnum

The inner voice

From a very early age, children learn to talk to themselves. That voice in your head is the thing that makes you, you

Philip Jaekl

Confident, idealistic, hard working... what’s not to like? Photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

Childhood and adolescence

Living with your parents, single and with no clear career. Is this a failure to grow up or a whole new stage of life?

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

At a concert in Hyde Park, London. June 1975. Photo by Selwyn Tait/Sygma/Corbis
Demography and migration
Against generations

Generational thinking is seductive and confirms preconceived prejudices, but it’s a bogus way to understand the world

Rebecca Onion

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Courtesy Warner Bros
Stories and literature
The coming-of-age con

How can you go about finding ‘who you really are’ if the whole idea of the one true self is a big fabrication?

Cody Delistraty

Lost in the game: in its pure form, play has no external purpose or reward. Photo by Tim Wimbourne/Reuters

Tennis with Plato

In play an adult can become like a child, fully absorbed in the here-and-now. Play, not work, brings us fully to life

Mark Rowlands

Photo: Getty images
Childhood and adolescence
Get your kicks

No wonder adolescents jump off cliffs and fall in crazy love – they are constantly stifled by school and society alike

Guy Claxton

Changing work patterns. Photo by Peter Ptschelinzew/Getty

Life stages
Kids these days

Millennials are as hard-working as anyone else – so why does pop culture pretend that all we do is party?

James Somers

Detail from Mother and her Daughter by Henri-François Riesener 1767-1828. Private collection. Image courtesy Wikimedia
Childhood and adolescence
My daughter, myself

Storms of doubt and change I expected as the parent of an adolescent, I just thought they would be hers, not mine

Marina Benjamin

The Funeral of Shelley (1889), by Louis Édouard Fournier. Photo courtesy the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool/Alamy

Rituals and celebrations
Death by design

We can chose how we live – why not how we leave? A free society should allow dying to be more deliberate and imaginative

Daniel Callcut

Wales, 1965. Photo by Bruce Davidson/Magnum
Childhood and adolescence
End of story

I am an atheist, and suspicious of sugar-coated evasions. So how can I explain death to my son without fudging the truth?

Cormac James

Hansel and Gretel – cast out by their stepmother, but reunited with their father after their ordeal in the woods. Illustration by Frank Adams.  Photo by Corbis

Childhood and adolescence
When a bough breaks

Volcanic feelings of love and hate are part of being a parent: it’s dangerous to pretend otherwise

Edward Marriott

The Ring of Brodgar at moon rise, Orkney islands, UK. Photo by Werner Forman/Getty
Night life

Back on the islands of my childhood, I’m clinging to sobriety, searching for a rare bird that’s also on the brink

Amy Liptrot

Photo by Gallery Stock
Final independence

Nobody wants a protracted, dehumanised death: why is it still so easy for doctors to ignore a dying patient’s wishes?

Jeanne Erdmann

Photo by Charlie Abad/Getty

The Death Café

Death has become too sanitised. It needs raucous laughter and a little bit of living to make it real again

Clare Davies