The Step-like Nature of Life

Have you ever thought that the life we live can easily be divided into a number of sequential “steps”, “stages” or “phases”.  Life starts at conception and, generally progresses right to the very end – death.

I often wonder why we sometimes feel that a life which has been prematurely ended has, in fact, been wasted? Is it because the unfortunate person has missed out on what, to us, seems to have been a really fun-filled step, or one that provided us with great satisfaction or pleasure, which the unfortunate deceased has missed? I know that the comment “they had a good innings” implies that the deceased had experienced most of the stages of life and has “earned their rest.” This does not apply to those who die young – mainly because they did not.

I firmly believe that we are placed in a situation to learn a lesson and that we will not move on until we have. Personally, I have been through this experience repeatedly, firstly to learn patience, which I am stil trying to conquer, but have improved immensely, then to learn the value of money. In my youth I was not allowed to take holiday jobs or, if I did, my father wanted his share to cover the income tax he would have paid on my earnings! His oft repeated comment ” the job is always more important than the money” led me into believing that lucre really was filthy and the job was the reason to do anything – it provided the satisfaction. It took me a long time to unlearn this lesson and to realise that an honest wage, or earnings, makes the satisfaction that much more valuable and tangible.

As I approached the latter part of my life, I took to thinking about the stages of life I have experienced and came up with the following:

  1. Conception – where the fun is with the parent and I was only a product:
  2. Gestation – a relatively directly uncomfortable period for my mother, and often and equally indirect period of discomfort for my father and older brother;
  3. Childbirth – an “unnecessarily uncomfortable and messy process” as described by my father;
  4. Infancy – when I was the apple and did nothing but eat, sleep, shout and defaecate;
  5. Babyhood – when I started to realise there were otehr people around me and I was not necessarily the centre of their universe;
  6. The Toddler stage – when I was too involved in learning the fundamentals of life and movement to pay attention to anybody else but MOM;
  7. Childhood – when the learning process became both more complex and formal and I started to realise that there was a whole, enormous, frightening world out there;
  8. Youth – where the World was out there and it was my mission to conquere it, or as much of it as I could. I started to spread my wings;
  9. Young Adulthood – where I learned that, if I was to conquer my World, it would have to be done carefully or it would involve me shedding some of my blood because there were others who wished to conquer me. I also learned that there were the omst fearsome of all beasts out there – women, who inspired both great interest and demanded equal caution in handling;
  10. Adulthood – where I learned that it is important to choose ones battles and the direct approach often did not deliver the most sought after result. I also overcame my wariness of women and found love and affection from at least one of them;
  11. Early Maturity – where I became impatient with others and decided to branch out on my own, with the support of my family;
  12. Middle Age – when I found that the process was, in most cases, more fun and offered more satisfaction than the result. Now I understood what my father meant by the job being more important than the money;
  13. Retirement – when I finally assumed total responsibility for my life in every respect and, as a result, was able to “plot my own course and combine work with fun, ensuring I am able to savour each and every moment of the experience.
  14. Old Age and Dotage – still to be experienced, I will let you know!!!!!

Please consider my selections and commentary, I am sure your life has been different. I would love to know where we match and where we differ, but always remember to have fun!

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