The seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills and wills. Richard John Needham identified the seven ages some time after Will Shakespear wrote this :

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and 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 cannon’s mouth. And then the justice
In fair round belly, with good capon lin’d,
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 slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,
His youthful hose well sav’d, a world too wide,
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again towards 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.

We recently saw “As You Like It” performed in Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Festival.  It was a great reminder of how life moves quickly and changes without warning.  We are all aware that we age each day but the reality hits from time to time when a change in stage becomes too evident to ignore.  I ask myself where I am right now and how that influences my perception of things.  And I ask what impact the stage have on a world view or the perspective that each of us takes on the world.

I admit to the Justice Stage.  That leaves me on ly two more stages.  Yikes!  In my own way I have described the stages differently.  I was a child, I raised children, I became political and entrepreneurial and now I am moving beyond that to look at different ways to give back to the world.  I am comfortable in my role as grandmother and want to define that to have the maximum impact on that wonderful generation of human beings.  I ask myself how best to serve them. I know how I felt about people my age when I was theirs.  They seemed redundant and irrelevant for the most part.  Now I know how much they knew and could have shared with me if I had only taken the time to ask.

This generational effect is reeking havoc in workplaces these days.  The wisdom of the young is so different from the wisdom of the old.  Both are indeed relevant and valuable and yet the divide keeps the one from asking the other about what they know.  Finding away to do that might be my next project.  What wisdom can we all take from the Bard himself as we consider generational differences.

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