The Ages of Man

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The Ages of Man (and woman)

Do you remember when you were under the age of ten, wanting to be older, you counted your age in fractions?
"How old are you?"
"I'm five and a half!."
You didn't know what a half was, but five and a half sounds older than five, so you are five and a half.

Then as you advanced beyond ten, you entered your "gonna be" years.
"How old are you?"
"I'm gonna be 16!"
You may be twelve, but you are "gonna be" 16.

In a short while, you become 21. That has a beautiful sound to it - you become 21. It almost sounds like a religious experience. You become 21. The age of majority.

You become 21, and then in a few years, you turn 30.
You turn 30. That does not sound good at all. It sounds like a carton of bad milk. "It turned and we had to throw it out." You turn 30.

You become 21, you turn 30, and pretty soon you're pushing 40.
You don't want to be 40. So you push 40. But inevitably you get there. The end of your youth. The beginning of middle age.

You become 21, you turn 30, you push 40, and then you reach 50.
You reach 50. Half a century. You are accustomed to middle age by now, so it doesn't bother you. By now your children are having children, but you look in the mirror and say, "I've still got it." There are a few wrinkles and a few grey hairs, but you think you are still attractive. Then you go out and some twenty year old says you remind them of their grandfather or grandmother, and totally destroys you.

You become 21, you turn 30, you push 40, you reach 50, and then you make it to 60.
You make it to 60. How did that happen? Yesterday you were five and a half playing with your dolls or trucks, and today you are 60. But you still have something to look forward to - retirement, and many years of "the good life." Newspaper print is smaller than it used to be, and you try to scratch your back only to discover that your arms have become six inches shorter, but life is good.

You become 21, you turn 30, you push 40, you reach 50, you make it to 60 and by then you have built up so much speed you hit 70.

You hit 70. You are now at that awkward age. Not the same kind of awkward age as when you were fifteen or sixteen. Thank goodness you don't have to go through that again. You are at that awkward age of 70 when you can no longer claim to be young, but you are not yet willing to admit that you are old. But by now your grandchildren are having children, and you notice how much younger parents are than they used to be. And your favourite part of the newspaper is "25 years ago today."

In your eighties, you start to slow down. You stop buying green bananas. It's an investment, and you are not sure it's going to pay off. Besides you are saving your money to pass on to your children so that "they don't have to go through what I did." You forget that your children are now in their fifties and sixties, have been through as much as you have, and probably have more money than you have, but you are saving your money for your children.

In your nineties, things start to reverse themselves. You start looking back. Whereas the teen years were your "gonna be" years, the nineties are your "was just" years. Instead of looking forward to your next birthday, you start looking back at your previous one.
"How old are you?"
"I was just 92 on my last birthday."

If you manage to get to be 100, a funny thing happens. As you did when you were a child, you start counting your age in fractions again.
"How old are you?"
"I am 100 and a half!"
Only now you know what that half means.