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The 4 Defining Stages in Every Man’s Life and What to Expect From Them

From the earliest childhood to old age, every man goes through several stages of life governed by both biology and accepted social norms. Despite often being portrayed as older boys, men do grow up, due to a multitude of biological and social factors that affect them throughout their life. 

Although this journey of self-exploration and affirmation is highly individual, there are some aspects of growing up and growing old which apply to most, if not all, men.

Early Adulthood – The Trial and Error Stage

One of the most anticipated events for men at this age is their bachelor party. The symbolic “last night out” has become somewhat of a worldwide tradition, as soon-to-be-grooms around the globe want to make sure it is something they will fondly remember for the rest of their lives. 

Since the possibilities in modern times are virtually endless, many of them opt to take the party abroad. Thus, foreign cities, such as Bucharest as a destination for bachelors have been growing in popularity.

This stage of life is when young men are the most driven to achieve and when the journey of self-discovery reaches its peak. It is a period when we experiment the most and find what does and what doesn’t work for us through a lot of trial and error. 

The culmination of this process is realizing that we all have certain limitations and committing to realistic goals which are most important to us.

The majority of men will already have started a career in their field of preference during early adulthood and began paying off their debts or saving up in order to buy a car or a home. 

As the desire for nights out and meeting new people becomes more and more satiated, most men start seeking a long-term relationship and eventually marriage.

Adulthood and Getting our Priorities Straight

Most men find that it is in their thirties when they define their wardrobe, often opting for a more formal look compared to their younger selves. 

Instead of shopping for shirts and jeans, they invest some time and money in order to find a quality suit for a neat attire matching their new outlook on life.

In some sense, true adulthood begins with settling down and starting a family. This is the stage when a man becomes responsible not just for himself, but also for others. 

Approaching the point beyond their physical prime, accompanied by fatherhood, allows for reconsidering what it means to be a man and focusing on new priorities.

The realization that it is becoming progressively harder to stay in shape drives men to do their best to eat healthily and incorporate some form of fitness activities in their weekly schedule.

The lack of free time resulting from the added responsibilities cause men at this stage to rethink how and with whom they spend it, forming a close circle of friends and focusing on the most enjoyable activities.

Midlife – Looking Back on What We Have Accomplished

The transition to midlife typically occurs in the early forties, and this is a period when a man begins re-evaluating himself and his purpose. 

The time for the most important achievements is behind him and the time to reap the benefits and face the shortcomings has come. At this stage of life, a man becomes aware of any disparity between his dreams and accomplishments.

This re-evaluation leads to acquiring wisdom and a better understanding of life, which can be used going forward to make the best of the coming years. However, midlife is most commonly associated with the dreaded midlife crisis. 

The opportunity cost of everything a man has invested his time and energy into up to this point becomes apparent, and some of the lower-prioritized elements of life may come back and demand attention.

Midlife is also defined through coping with more apparent physical changes and accepting the passing of youth. Due to a decline in testosterone production and energy levels, athletic activities become more straining and harder to recover from.

Apart from the body “feeling older”, the passage of time also becomes more visible, and younger adults at work and social gatherings begin to regard him more as an authority figure, rather than a peer. 

Although it may feel disappointing initially, there is a great satisfaction to be found in this change, with the man assuming a new role as a mentor to his younger counterparts.

Late Adulthood and Passing on Our Legacy

After investing the greater part of their life into things they held important, a man transitions into late adulthood around the same time he retires. His life experience, although vast, is slowly becoming outdated in certain aspects of modern times, which can lead to a feeling of isolation and sometimes bitterness.

This is when men focus on passing on their life work and knowledge to their descendants or apprentice. Seeing them thrive in the world and being able to advise them throughout their young lives gives the man a new purpose and a sense that his legacy will live on.


Transitioning from one stage of life to the next, every man undergoes more or less significant changes to his body and psyche, some of which can be hard to cope with, while constantly redefining masculinity and his role in the world. However, perhaps the most significant factor that shapes a man throughout his life is his ever-rising perspective on life that we have come to call wisdom.