My extended family only get together in two yearly occasions: Christmas and my Grandma's birthday. With still some months to the former, we met this week to celebrate the latter. Four generations around 86 candles, which were heroically blown by the woman who has given birth to no less than 10 children! You can now more realistically picture the amount of attendants to the event (and know the reason why we don't meet more often...). With four generations present on the night, there were representatives of all ages, giving me the opportunity of seeing life through their eyes for the duration of our conversation. All having a completely different view of the same world we all live in...
After gathering bits and pieces of the night, I reached the conclusion that life is lived in 4 different stages.
1. Flowing Life
Ages: newborn - 14
These are the years where you 'go with the flow'. Your parents determine your days, when and where you come and go, what times you eat or what you buy. You have little sense of time or perspective. Life is lived through others. At the end of this phase and after a bad hormonal kick, your environment becomes your war and you take up arms against literally everything.
2. Theoretical Life
Ages: 15 - 29
Not liking anything in your life, you begin to imagine the great things that you fail to have and start to cook up the great plan that will lead you to a life of rainbows. You make being a free spirit your life purpose and firmly believe that all you want in life is to burn bridges and travel around the world with no other baggage than your own soul. And because anything that remotely resembles a responsibility is a clear threat to your plan, you run away from any form of commitment. You picture yourself leading a successful career doing what you love to do.
3. Fall-Rise-Fall-Rise Life
Ages: 30 - 69
But then life gives you a reality check. You realise how difficult things are, the amount of unfairness in this world. And you fall and rise again because there is no other option. And then you fall once more and have to come out from the deepest holes to stand back on your two feet; until you're knocked right out again. And rise. And fall. And rise...You become wiser and gaining a privileged perspective that leads on to the following stage.
4. Observant Life
Ages: 70 and above
With a tired body and an experienced soul, you become to live life through others (family, friends, acquaintances, actors, strangers...). Your only problems are theirs and your happiness is to witness their own bliss.