Some things take a while to sink in, and when they do, they can spurn an amazing train of thought. I have often wondered about the cycle of life and the defining stages of it and then today, i learned about two more stages that i completely forgot about.
At the end of the year, i have a wedding to go to. I was kind of thinking that this would be my last wedding as nearly all of my friends are married now, well all of them that are destined to be married anyway. Weddings was clearly in the cycle of life, a section of our life that determines which stage of life we are at as individuals.
The cycle starts with a celebration of birth, your birth. Unfortunately you are too young to appreciate the immense intensity that has just begun. People gather to celebrate the beginning of your cycle of life.
The next cycle is of course school. The longest cycle, or certainly it seems that way while you are living it. It is massively under appreciated at the time we live it, purely because we have not seen enough of life to realise just how carefree and easy our life is at this time. We celebrate the end of this cycle as best we can at the age of 16
Soon the cycle changes again to a celebration of birthdays. Either you will celebrate being 18 or 21 – or if you are incredibly posh and wealthy, you may celebrate both of them.
Then, before we have had time to mature fully, we hit the ‘engagement’ cycle. Most of the people around you begin to find their life partner and stay with them into the ‘wedding’ cycle. This of course brings a flurry of parties, engagement, stag/hen and wedding parties themselves.
The wedding cycle is a favourite of many but for different reasons. For me, it is a damn fine excuse to get everyone together. People make an effort to get to a wedding, more than they might to get to a meal out, its always a good place to catch up. For some – it is also a good place to meet your life partner!
In an old fashioned world, the next cycle would be babies although modern times allow for the cycle to get a little disjointed. The baby cycle is a funny one really. It wasn’t that long ago that you were at your own, although you wont remember it. This cycle is where the men are allowed to go out and get drunk and smoke cigars while the women all pile into one house to make strange gurgling and coo-ing noises at a little bundle of life that has no idea what is going on. It is important to remember that this is a new cycle of life for someone else.
After the baby cycle i had always thought that it was downhill but today i learned of two more cycles of life and also learned that the downhill stage is still a couple of decades off.
Today i learned of divorce! I heard from a friend today who i was best man for some 8 years ago. He tells me that he and his wife are now divorcing. This made me think that will i now begin to witness some years of friends divorcing just like i witnessed the beginning of the marriage cycle a decade or more ago? The divorce cycle will be remembered as an unhappy cycle – or will it? If you are leaving something behind that has clearly made you unhappy – why do we not celebrate this cycle of life with a party too ? Imagine – receiving an invite saying ‘you are invited to the divorce party of jack and jill’ You could take presents too, infact they would be as much appreciated now as they were when they married. Imagine, suddenly they will need 2 TV’s , 2 microwaves and so on.
While discussing my theory of life cycles with the deckhand on the boat, he asked me a question. It was a question that i had pondered many times before but today i could also give what i now feel is THE definitive answer.
He asked me – at what stage of life do you reach the pinnacle, the height of your climb and start descending the hill, slowing down, becoming less agile, less mindful until eventually you wither away and die. For a young lad, he had asked quite a thought provoking question but my answer was easy.
The downhill run begins with another baby cycle. Not the birth of your children, but the birth of theirs – your grand children! Imagine, your drive from your own baby cycle, through life into the wedding cycle, then onto your own childrens baby cycle, but it doesnt stop there. You still grow with them, protect them, nurture them until the point that they too experience their own baby cycle.
It is at this point, the human instinct realises that its drive to populate, to complete in the biggest competition of all ‘ survival of the fittest’ is now complete and the body and mind will slowly begin to slow down. Consider this the halfway point in your own cycle of life. If you are a grandparent by the time you are 45, i reckon you will live to be around 90 – but dont take my word for it, apply my theory to your own life experiences and see how it compares.
That was a very heavy train of thought for a sunday. Needless to say, i am looking forward to the wedding in december and hoping the divorce cycle will be shorter and less frequent than the marriage cycle. One thing i am certain of – babies have a lot to answer for !
Have a moan - the beers are on me !!