Friday, March 21, 2014

The Seven Ages of Man: 21st Century Style

Shakespeare was a clever man writing "that each man in his life plays seven lives", but he possibly could not have predicted how it would pan out in the twenty first century.

You see, he is still right, in that we start off as a baby, then we become a school girl or boy, then we have teenage girlfriends and boyfriends and fall in love on a least one occasion. In the next part we have a period of putting the world to rights, walking all over others to gain success, wearing clothes that show status, living a self centred existence and make ourselves the priority (the soldier), before we become more settled, wiser, have our own children and see the world for what it is a little (the justice).

At sixtyish, round about the end of our working lives we start to look a bit old, have grey hair (underneath the colour in a bottle), and accept the fact that we are no longer in the first flush of youth any more. And at home in the evenings we play the part of "the slipper'd pantaloons" guy, by slipping into our jeans and collapsing in front of the telly.

But this is the bit where Shakespeare, for all his wisdom, didn't manage to predict what would have happened when medical science said: "Hey guys, hold on there. No-one is going to die before the age of eighty five. You are going to live long successful lives, with parts pinned together, metal props inside your bodies and a whole battery of pharmaceutical delights to keep your clock ticking on and on."

So, in walks the modern sixty year old who has just retired. The hair colour is perfect. Modern hairdressing has done us proud and no woman or man (ref Elton John) needs to look a day over twenty in the hair department. For the more affluent there are the nips and tucks and botox injections, which if done well will take ten or twenty years off your average silver blonde bombshell surfer.

This is not an easy phase though, because at this point we take a look at what else is going on, and resume the part of "the justice", taking a sensible look at the lives of our now grown up children, and doing our best to make sure that they too can live their lives to the full. We also might take on the role of parent carer and often have as much, if not more, to do in terms of looking after the family than we did when the children were young. We are there for everyone: we still live in our family houses; we bail out and pay out, and are permanently on call for all who need us.

The next bit though is where it gets really interesting. One day, when the children have really flown the nest, when you no longer have elderly relatives to care for, and when it is just you and Hubby or Wifey again, life takes on a new twist.

We once more become self centred and self focused. We book holidays for ourselves, do activities for ourselves, go out for meals with people we want to mix with only, have fun, do whatever we like and put the world to rights. (And this time, we know that after having lived for seventy years or so, we are definitely right in our beliefs and we don't care if no-one agrees with us.) This is the Purple Hat phase. It's the phase when people are only out for themselves and where the purple has replaced the younger soldier's uniform of suits and briefcases.

Round about eighty, those still in the running, and there are now many, take it one step further and go back to teenagehood. Romeo and Juliet, eat your heart out if you think you were doing something really selfish and rebellious. You have nothing on the eighty year old teen lover. This time we are propped up by even more wonderfully clever tricks and tips from the apothecary store and, just like the average teenager, we only care about ourselves and our own lives. We like things being done our own way. We like to eat food prepared the way we have always known it. We like our house to look the same as it did when we were forty, We don't like new things. We don't like modern stuff. And most of all we hate other people interfering in our lives and we go to every possible length to ensure that we remain independent to the end.

But then, sadly we reverse one more step and we start to rely on others for help. We do indeed become the schoolboy again and at this point, when we finally accept that we can no longer be independent, it is sad. We no longer care about our appearance. The nips and tugs have sagged long ago. The hair is now grey and balding, and we are tired. We start to find less things amusing and we sit and wait for the day to come. The medical profession does what it can to help us be comfortable, but, because we are still being propped up by the curious array of "smarties" from days gone by, there is a struggle between being ready to become the infant again and leave our mortal coil, and being kept alive by medical science.

So Mr Shakespeare, it seems as if you were absolutely right, but in our century we play the seven parts and then, because once is never now enough, we play repeats, right up to the end.



Sally Writes said...

p.s. In "other news", my btother's book is being published earlier. See here:

It's all very exciting! 😃

Debbie said...

Definitely in the justice phase. Not sure I ever properly fulfilled the soldier role though. I wonder what 'Old Bill' would have thought.

Sally Writes said...

He'd either be turning in his grave that anyone would dare comment on his poetic masterpiece. Or, find it funny that someone should use something 400 years old to make a comment about modern society.

Keith said...

Have you gone? I know I didn't comment very often, but I miss reading about your miss-adventures.

Keith said...

Have you gone? I know I didn't comment very often, but I miss reading about your miss-adventures.

Sally Writes said...

Hi Keith
I'm still around in fact I started a new blog yesterday called "Think It Small". About dieting! It's all part of Sally Writes. Just a different blog. It's very new. A bit embryonic at this point and I'm not sure how it will go. But we will see. 😊😊