With some rare exceptions -- and I'm not even sure about them -- I think maybe the Hindus got it right when they observed that there were three phases to a human life ... childhood and learning, working and family, and finally an interest in or dedication to spiritual life.
Skipping over or revising any of these segments so often just means there will be a necessity to turn back and live through what has been skipped. The old man recreates a childhood ... the old woman reconfigures a family life that had been forsworn... the middle-aged live a drawn-out childhood only to be confronted by what it might mean to be an adult ... or delve into spiritual life only to find that the richness had dried up.
Confronted by a template of this sort, the mind races to point out exceptions and footnotes and asterisks galore. "Yes, but...." Nothing is precisely linear or limited and the mix-and-mingle of the phases is everywhere apparent. Human beings are more interesting than templates. On the other hand, the longing for 'meaning' makes templates comforting and delicious.
Generally, I think the Hindus got it right.