We live in a culture that prizes youth and tells us that, once our wild 20s are over, we’re basically on the slow train to decay and death. But modern science tells us otherwise, as we set out to explore in this episode.

Given the cultural narrative of decline and fall, do we even have a sense of what the stages of life are beyond child–teenager–worker–pensioner–dead?

New research suggests that there are seven distinct ‘primes of life’, each with their own strengths, which call into question the narrative of inescapable decay. We look at what we gain as well as what we lose as our years increase – but not without questioning how the scientists came to these conclusions!

The studies prompt us to ask what we should prioritise at different stages of our life – when’s the time to go all-out, to study something deeply, or to be hitting the gym on the regular?

The story of our physical and psychological development is complex and sometimes paradoxical. But beyond the science of it all, how can (and how should) we conceptualise all this so we can say we’ve led a Good Life?

We dig into:

  • the different strengths we gain as we grow older
  • the power of myth to make sense of and value our different primes
  • what we actually lose and gain
  • how Jungian Psychology can reframe our dismissive, mocking attitude to having a ‘midlife crisis’

Jon riffs on what Carl Jung called the ‘Individuation Process’, the ancient concepts of the Daimon and the Genius, and we ask how these theories can help us to grow and become who we truly are.


The scientist whose creativity was unleashed after having a stroke is Dr Jill Bolte Taylor. Check out her TED talk here.

Be Silly. Be Kind. Be Weird.

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