As a life coach, I am use to noticing insights and coincidences for my clients. In the off-hours, I can not help but do the same for myself. One of the triggers I watch for is if something appears to me three times, there is a message to be discovered. I have gotten so adept at it, that usually I feel a significance at two times, which leads me to this month’s story.
My husband and I actually had a full weekend day together which was wonderful. Before going to another incredible production at Chicago Shakespeare Rep, we bummed around Chicago. At one of the stores we stopped at, I picked up a book on retiring early. I can’t remember the name of the book, but as I was flipping through it this listing of achievements popped out at me. Here is my paraphrase:
Achievements by Age
At 5 years old, tying one’s own shoes.
At 10 years old, having friends.
At 16 years old, driving a car.
At 20 years old, having sex.
At 30 years old, having money.
At 40 years old, having money.
At 50 years old, having sex.
At 60 years old, driving a car.
At 70 years old, having friends.
At 80 years old, tying one’s own shoes.
This concept is funny and sad and insightful all at the same time. Then later that day Shakespeare shared one of his monologues on the ages of man in his play As You Like It:
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 honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the canon’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.
When we are in the midst of living, we tend not to see ourselves as if we are in a phase. But as those around one age, it is easy to see yet hard to accept that our loved ones are moving into another phase of life. Being my own life coach, here are a few takeaways I was given from these two descriptions of the ages of life.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. What is important to you right now may be completely meaningless in a few years.
Be empathetic and compassionate towards others and yourself. Don’t honk and be frustrated with the old man in the Buick in front of you. He is moving at the only pace he is able. And at the pace you will be moving in a few years.
Keep everything in context. Achievements for a 10 year old will not be the same as one expects for a 20 year old, and vice versa. Celebrate the accomplishments you and others have at each age.
Age gracefully. Don’t fight time. Everything in this world cycles, and so do we. Enjoy and accept the journey you are on and what your capabilities are at each age.
Enjoy every moment. There is no better place to be than right here, right now.
Enjoy the ride!
Melissa Heisler, Life Coach