Passages was my word for those predictable “crises” or turning points that usher in a new stage, a crucial period of decision between progress and regression.
In my book Passages I used the analogy of the lobster, which grows by developing and shedding a series of hard, protective shells. Each time it expands from within, the confining shell must be sloughed off, and it is left unprotected until a new covering grows. We, too, in each passage from one stage of human growth to the next, must shed a protective structure. We, too, are left exposed and vulnerable—but also yeasty and embryonic again. At such points we enjoy a heightened potential for making a real stretch of growth. But we can also fall back, lose ground, give up, or simply ignore the impulse to change and remain stuck in our shells. Whatever we do, the future will be rendered better or worse but, in any case, restructured.
– New Passages