There comes a time in just about everyone’s life where you find yourself asking this question, usually to no one in particular, more often than not. Gone are the days when the alarm clock chimes, and you jump out of bed ready to face the day. No, this has been replaced by a creaking, half-hour ordeal just to get upright. The struggle is real! There are other questions that compliment this one, like: Why do I have to pee so often? Why can’t I eat spicy food anymore? Why am I so forgetful? Why is a duck? If you get that last one, you are most likely asking yourself the other three!
The other day, as I was contemplating removing myself from the prone position, I was thinking about all this and ruminating about the various stages of life that we all go through. After a quick search, it appears there are a variety of different ways of framing these stages. Firstly, and the one I feel we are most familiar with, are “The Seven Stages of Life,” which, in all likelihood, stems from Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man,” which is rather comically introduced in his pastoral comedy “As You Like It,” in particular melancholy Jacques’ monologue, which begins like this: “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.” From this comes the seven: Fetus; Infancy; Toddler; Childhood; Adolescence; Adulthood; Old Age. These stages represent points of time in your life associated with age, or age ranges. However, I feel it is important to add that this has very little to do with how one acts! How many of us at some time or another were told to “act your age?” There is a simplified version of these stages, which boils it down to three: Childhood; Adulthood; Old Age. Or, put another way:
I found yet another, which posits five stages and what we should be doing at each stage: Dreaming – from birth to 18; Exploring – from 18-36; Building – from 36-54; Mentoring – from 54-72; Giving – from 72-90. Yeah, I know, there are just too many “holes” in this one and I’m not even going to bother! However, my personal favorite has to be the one that measures “success” at various stages of your life, and it goes like this:
I would like to suggest an eighth stage that would fit in somewhere between adulthood and old age and that is “The Maintenance Stage.” In reality, this is more of a state of mind than a stage, and what it entails is beginning to maintain yourself for what’s coming to a neighborhood near you soon! And this brings us right back to my title: “Why Do I Feel the Way I Do? This question, and the others I posed, all have decidedly negative connotations and the last thing we need as we mosey on into the sunset is negativity. My idea is that instead of starting your day with this question, you turn it into a statement and then answer that. Instead of “why do I feel the way I do?” you need to say: “I feel the way I do because,” and then start remembering all those amazing, incredible, and yes, sometimes foolish things you’ve done, especially those that have put some wear-and-tear on your body. You know, all the sports you’ve played and perhaps are still playing, raising kids, and schlepping them around, jogging, running, perhaps the physical toll from certain jobs, and on and on it goes. Truth be told, we all know exactly why we feel the way we do, so instead of asking the rhetorical question, celebrate the life you’ve lived!
Los Angeles 2022