You Know You are Growing Old When

"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 honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon'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."

William Shakespeare

Study of the head of an old man by Peter Paul Rubens. Wikimedia Commons.
Study of the head of an old man by Peter Paul Rubens. Wikimedia Commons.

Twenty years ago on an evening like this I would be either preparing a project for work or exercising myself with the most energetic sex. That was twenty years ago. Now we are focused on our family business and look forward to seeing the children do well in life. Things change. And we move on up the ladder of the stages of life. Or is it a treadmill? You pause to think about it enough and suddenly everything, I mean everything appears predictable and preventable. And correctable. But whether you accept the human life stages and simply try to do your best within the boundaries of your culture and worldview; or just flow along the river of life, you must come to terms with the inevitable, change.


Five Sure Signs You Growing Old

Five things are happening at a frightening frequency, five factors that remind you that you are no longer the time-wasting, curious, gullible young man you used to be. But it was so much fun to be innocent! All that is history now. Alas, once you begin to take life seriously you already have one foot in the grave.


  1. You are part of the age cohort which is attending the funeral of it's parents. Think about it, in some countries funerals are private matters for immediate family. Our island has abandoned many of the great traditions of the ancestral continent, but has certainly retained the cultural practice of grief and burial as a time of feasting, noise, and large crowds. Monies that would do better building libraries and bridges are spent on rich elaborate funeral arrangements. Thank goodness some churches capture a small portion of that in the offering which is lifted for charity on such occasions. Suffice to say that attendance at family and friends funeral service is expected, and the size of a funeral cortege (that's funeral procession for the non literati) is a bragging right for the bereaved.
  2. You know you are growing old when you begin to attend the funeral of your peers or those just a little older with the fearless expectation that you could be next. When less than a generation separates you from your friends in the cemetery you know that the hourglass is running out on you.
  3. You know you are growing old when you are more interested in the dress your wife is wearing than getting her out of it as quickly as possible. Former prime minister of Jamaica Michael Manley puts it another way. He said when he was young he was keen on getting a young lady out of her dress, when he became older he admired the dress. It's not that the libido is gone it's just that you are less concerned with immediate gratification and more caught up with the daily routine, with making a living. Some call it maturity, I call it old. Don't fight it. Welcome to the circle of life.
  4. You can be sure you are getting old when you walk around the house searching for the pair of glasses that you are wearing on your face. The first ten times I put it down to the frenetic pace of modern life. But after that friend you are simply too old to remember or see what's in front of your eyes.
  5. You know that you are getting old when your young friends no longer invite you to play soccer. Yea, you see someone 20 years younger and you ask if they are too busy to play still and they announce that they have been playing every week. Don't get depressed, just put on your gears and march right down there and run around on the field shouting at the top of your lungs for the ball. You'll be lucky to touch it even once every five minutes. But it will be so much fun just running around and pretending to be the next Pele. Who cares about 40-year time warp when you are having a ball.




Cartoon by Glendon Caballero.
Cartoon by Glendon Caballero.

"We have this moment to hold in our hands

And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand

Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come

But we have this moment, today."

Bill & Gloria Gaither


Happy old man.  Source:  Marg courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Happy old man. Source: Marg courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments 8 comments

suny51 6 years ago

oh yeh- all the people are mere actors around...


tectonic profile image

tectonic 6 years ago from Singapore

point 4 has only happened twice so far. Where does that put me?


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

hehe, funny glendocaba, I am not old I know but sometimes I think I worn my contacts already when in fact I haven't hehe, and the dates, LOL, forgetfulness, Good one, Maita


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

The reality within this hub is almost too intense. Well presented and I love the Caballero cartoon.

K9


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

I've been looking for the glasses that I am already wearing for years now......


glendoncaba profile image

glendoncaba 6 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse Author

@tectonic, dont rush it now, it will come along in time. Just enjoy each moment.

@K9, first time I'm putting my cartoon in hub and glad you like it.

@lean man, I see you have found them in time to write some great Middle East hubs!


Jane@CM profile image

Jane@CM 6 years ago

I so don't want to get old, but my Greying hair sure shows it! Not sure how many touches I'd get on a soccer ball today - just wears me out watching the kids play!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

So we all are traipsing down that creaky trail - and some just realize it more than others. You did a great job of realization, and a profound job of expressing it! Great hub.

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