By Andre Oosthuizen
Worldwide, the average life expectancy of human beings is seventy-one years old. Your life can thus be divided up into quarters, each quarter spanning a period just short of two decades, and more-or-less involving the following:
The first quarter (Spring) is about physical growth, attending school, acquiring some of the skills which equip you for the career that lies ahead.
The second quarter (Summer) is focused on procreating and producing children, on finding employment, and climbing up the job ladder.
The third quarter (Autumn) should be the crest of the wave, a time when you hold a senior position at work or have started a business which is generating an impressive revenue stream; when you live in a home with a lawn and swimming pool; when you drive a car that turns heads. This is the time of reaping the rewards for the toil and effort that has gone into the previous two quarters.
This brings us to the final quarter (Winter). What sort of journey are you going to have through the last two decades or so of life? I immediately hear some of you say that the question is academic and largely irrelevant. In the last quarter, you say, people take on the role of a doting grandparent. The kids visit you twice a month at the old age home, your knees and back and heart and lungs become increasingly dysfunctional, and you eventually end up in the frail care centre, waiting for death.
That, my friend, is not how it is supposed to be. There is a message I intend to shout from every rooftop and proclaim from every soapbox available to me. The message is that at age sixty, seventy, eighty, life remains a wonderful adventure and you, as a member of the human race, retain many of your gifts and abilities and remain entitled to joy, gratitude, and fulfilment.
Even although your hair may be thinning, your eyesight failing, and you perhaps walk at a slower pace. life goes on, and life is wonderful.
I am by now well into the last quarter of my life, but I do not intend on going quietly into that good night. I will continue to read, watch movies, love those nearest to me, play the saxophone, weed the flowerbeds, learn a new language, improve my skills with these baffling devices called computers, go to gym twice a week, and walk for half an hour on weekends. I will laugh, live, and empathise, whenever the chance to do so presents itself. I will continue to do these things, until the curtain comes down.