Youth – when did I stop being young and considered a man?
Was it when I graduated high school and went out on my own
Or perhaps when I enlisted in the Army to serve my country
Maybe it was the day I married my soul mate
Or perhaps it was when our first child was born
Could it have been when we moved away from family to start a new life
Fact is that there are many stages in life.
The first stage is when we are born and some would say lasts until we reach the age of four.
The second stage is known as our childhood years and usually occurs between the ages of four and thirteen – you know the years that we tend to develop character, personality and what might be considered our own form of intelligence (some of us become book worms, others become athletes, while others may go in various other directions).
The third stage and one I feel fortunate to say that none of our children gave us any problems during these years would be the teenage years. These years can last between the ages of fourteen and twenty-two depending on the child. These are the years of impulsive behavior, with them expressing themselves in a way, we as parents may have never expected. It is also the time that they may become involved with what we used to call puppy love (first crush as we called it back in the day).
The next stage is the young adult stage – you know once they are around age twenty-three, the age one would hope they begin to mature and begin making mature decisions (and hopefully logical ones at that). Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t – but hey, we must remember – we went through these same stages.
Come age forty, hopefully the child/teenager/young adult stages are behind them and they are ready to be considered true adults. You remember those years, the years where we used to sit back and think to ourselves that life is just passing us by. When am I going to become or make something of myself and oh, by the way, how is it I am supposed to do that?
Believe it or not by age fifty-five, we begin to think about retirement. This time of our life becomes prevalent because, over the years we have developed a good sense of wisdom and in doing so, begin to say to ourselves “our time is here and it is now.” Were we to be honest with ourselves, looking back in time, we remember that a good number of our friends and colleagues worked up until age 65, only to take retirement and die within a year or two afterwards. Such is not the fate we are aspiring to at age 55!
So, at this stage of our life we decide we want more leisure activities and we want to be around longer than one or two years to enjoy the fruits of our labor. After all, let’s face it we have been in the workforce the better part of thirty-five or so years.
Going on the assumption that one does get to retire at age fifty-five and spends the next fifteen or twenty years in retirement bliss, the final stage of life is that of becoming, in my case for instance, an old geezer or as some might say, senior citizen, elderly person, or old fart and this stage lasts for the remainder of our lives.
Now I am sure by now everyone is wondering what does this post have to do with today’s word prompt – “Youth?”
Well in the words of John O’Donohue, from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
“You are as young as you feel. If you begin to feel the warmth of your soul, there will be a youthfulness in you that no one will be able to take away from you.”
Youth means different things to different folks. Had someone told me that my wife and I would live long enough to celebrate fifty-three years of marriage this past May or be retired twenty years come this December, I would have probably told them that it would never happen. But, in my humble opinion, it is through having a youthful attitude towards life that has kept us going and continues to do so. We both are still young at heart and are looking forward to this upcoming final stage of our life.
Allow me to end this post, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Until next time!