I have been thinking about the seasons of life and questions such as what are the seasons, and what age do you have to be for someone to consider you old?
The quote below resonated with me.
“I will be ____ years old next year, and life is still a constant surprise to me. We never know what will happen next, what we will see, and when an important person will come into our life, or what important person we will lose. Life is change[i], constant change, and unless we are lucky enough to find comedy in it, change is nearly a drama if not a tragedy. But after everything, and even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be alive we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment of every day, no matter how flawed. And we must have faith in God, and in the Universe, and in a better tomorrow…” Giuseppe “Pino” Lella, quoted in the novel “Beneath A Scarlett Sky” by Mark Sullivan.
The composer Vivaldi gave a beautiful response to seasons of life.[ii]The Christian bible gives at least 31 biblical responses to what are the seasons of life.[iii]If you reference three score and ten as the allotted time for life, then each season would be 17.5 years. We all know that the allotted time is not assigned in equal quartiles. We also know that years of age are not a measure, since some people who are young or “seasoned” in chronological years but the exact opposite in terms of spirit, spank, and energy. So what is a season of life to you?
So what age to you have to be to be considered “old”? I think it depends, but one never fail answer is someone is old if they are older than me! A kid who is single digit probably thinks of an older sibling as old. Or if you are a teenager, you may think of someone in their 30’s as old. Interesting fact: “1951 was the last year you could die in the United States with the cause ‘old age’ being listed on the death certificate.”[iv] For me, one aspect of the four seasons of life are what happens the day after last season.[v]
One way to think of life is to see it in terms of a Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter and what takes place in those seasons. I think it is hard to do that in the first two seasons. When we are children, I think we refer to seasons based on events such as birthdays, religious and national holidays, etc, and where we are in school, e.g. elementary, middle, and high school. Time is almost seamless. And somewhere along the way there are plays and performances at school or in our places of worship, and unexpected events such as sickness or the first funeral you attend with all the questions those events raise. And before you know it you hear pomp and circumstances for the first time when you leave elementary school, middle school, and then high school. I think another singular event is the first time someone you know dies, and you have to confront that event in all its ramifications. I was singularly moved when a young man in my son’s Boy Scout troop, went off to college, when out for a run, and had a heart attack which killed him. Looking at his friends standing in line before the casket, I could not fathom what they were experiencing or feeling. I remember being in college and a friend calling to tell me Manzy Glover, someone we went to high school with had died, and how shocked I was. I asked him, how he died and where. I was told Manzy was killed in action in Vietnam. I asked what was Vietnam!? I also recall finding Manzy’s name on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., and running my finger along it.
Being a spiritual person, one of the first places I look when I think of the seasons of life is the book of Ecclesiastes[vi] and the words found there
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
How do you think about the Seasons of Life?
 There are four lessons that go with the four seasons. Here is the lesson for Spring. (“Every year, after a long winter, comes the spring. This is a time where opportunities arise. Flowers blossom and creatures come out of their hibernation. The same thing applies within your life. After a challenging time, you will be faced with a great opportunity. It is your duty to take full advantage of the springs when they pop up. This is your moment to plant the seeds of greatness to come. You never see all the beauty that is life and nature on this planet decide not to awaken one year in the spring! It does because it is meant to do so. Hold your own existence to that same standard. Make your springs the springboard to getting where you want to go.”)
[i] A similar sentiment is found in what Adam is alleged to have said to Eve as they were expelled from the Garden of Eden:, ‘Darling, we live in an age of transition.’ “Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball” by George F. Will
[iv] “A Short Guide to a Long Life” by David B. Agus, M.D.
[vi] The following description of this book is from Wikipedia.”
Ecclesiastes (/ɪˌkliːziˈæstiːz/; Hebrew: קֹהֶלֶת, qōheleṯ, Greek: Ἐκκλησιαστής, Ekklēsiastēs) is one of 24 books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), where it is classified as one of the Ketuvim (Writings). Originally written c. 450–200 BCE, it is also among the canonical Wisdom literature of the Old Testament in most denominations of Christianity. The title Ecclesiastes is a Latin transliteration of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Kohelet (also written as Koheleth, Qoheleth or Qohelet), the pseudonym used by the author of the book.In traditional Jewish texts and throughout church history (up to the 18th and 19th centuries), King Solomon is named as the author, but modern scholars reject this. Textually, the book is the musings of a King of Jerusalem as he relates his experiences and draws lessons from them, often self-critical. The author, who is not named anywhere in the book, or in the whole of the Bible, introduces a “Kohelet” whom he identifies as the son of David (1:1). The author does not use his own “voice” throughout the book again until the final verses (12:9–14), where he gives his own thoughts and summarises what “the Kohelet” has spoken. It emphatically proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently “hevel” (a word meaning “vapor” or “breath”, but often interpreted as “insubstantial”, “vain”, or “futile”) […] as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death. While Qoheleth clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he is unable to ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this perceived senselessness, he suggests that one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one’s work, which are gifts from the hand of God. The book concludes with the injunction to “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone,” though the lines are likely a later insertion meant to support the book’s orthodoxy despite its overarching existential concerns