1. good times and bad times, successes and failures over a period of time
someone has had a lot of ups and downs in their life
When you talk about 'ups and downs' you are referring to highs and lows in your life, during a project or over a period of time. 'Ups and downs' literally rises and falls in particularly if they refer to the value of something and emotional state or success. This is a casual phrase often used in conversation. You will also hear the similar meaning expressions 'highs and lows' and 'take the bad with the good'.