Wednesday, June 07, 2017


Seven ages of man


One of the beauties of growing old is that you had the chance. Many times, in life we witness people dying at a young age, or too soon as they say. But I have to challenge what too soon is, and ‘young' what is young? My son died at 24 months, and I could argue that 24 months is too soon and young. But it was his life-span, his life, and story.

I have come to realize that life is almost entertainment in a way, like a movie or a book, with a beginning and an end, and that there are many lives out there with beginnings and ends. It is easy to reach for a cd or a book and entertain oneself, but it is far more fascinating to meet and even study people, and listen to their stories.

If you ever go to a bar or cafe, maybe walking alone, and see someone who has lived beyond 50-years of age, he or she probably has an interesting story to tell, maybe a life lesson to give. Sometimes we ignore those most important assets in life, one another.

People say I have a good memory for things that occurred in my life, and at 72-years old, I'm happy to have a memory at all! Yet it is true, I seem to recall the most minute of detail, people, places and things that happened so long ago. Is my memory idyllic, or did something else happen? Maybe I fell in love with the times and places and thus, the people that occupied in those circumstances.

But just think of all the people you know, all the stories that lie within their lives, the joys, dramas, and tragedies that made them who they are! The amazing thing is the woven threads of other lives that inter-played with their story.

Many are the young with a fear of growing old. Yet as we reach old age, there is no fear, just acceptance, and resignation that life is what it is. Besides; does one need to worry about dying when one experiences the joys of life, the grandchildren, friends and most of all, the memories that will take you home, time and time again? I don't wish to die yet, but I know when it comes, many burdens will be lifted; making people happy, paying bills, worrying about a loved one and getting through the next day, all gone, just rest, in peace.

I can remember thinking 50 years ago about the turn of the century, what that would be like, how old I would be and I remember thinking of my present age, so far away and out of mind, and now here it is, the century has turned and so have I, in my 70's!

Age has a way of changing us, making us more mellow in some instances, and yet impatient with the world of self-centered pettiness and absorption that the younger generation can sometimes be. But what once was competition now become prized, the beauty of youth, the future they will manage, and the idea of growing old with a spouse or friend, God willing.
I think of my parents with a child's mind, and of my children with a parent's mind, and of course all of us my age as brothers and sisters, like-minded. And so, the Bard had it right…

William Shakespeare

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.

And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


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