Today is Friday, October 18, 2013.
"Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance." –Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono was the wife of John Lennon, one of the Beatles, and is the mother of Sean Lennon and Kyoko Cox, the daughter of her second husband, Tony Cox, from whom she is divorced. I thought it was interesting that she was born in 1933, so she is only three years younger than my mother. (John Lennon was 7 years her junior. They were married from 1969 to 1980, when Lennon was shot in New York outside their apartment building.) Ono's father is a direct descendant of the Japanese imperial family, and she was once a classmate of the current Emperor of Japan. She is an artist, peace activist, and philanthropist. She has contributed to the arts, peace, and AIDS outreach programs.
I liked this quote because I think Ono has hit the nail on the head with each season of life: the innocence of youth, the exuberance of young adulthood, the reverence acquired at some cost in middle age, and the dogged perseverance of the aged, many of whom live their lives through a haze of pain.
Young people – at least, the ones who have not had their childhood taken away from them – are innocent in the best sense. They have their troubles and worries, as we all do, but responsibility does not sit quite so heavily on their shoulders, and the most fortunate of them have not yet seen or experienced the harsher side of life.
Young adults are exuberant, full of big plans. They are finally free of adult supervision and ready to make a leap into the unknown. They are busy getting their credentials in life, either academically or by experience in the school of hard knocks. They rush in where angels fear to tread in love, marriage or cohabitation, and parenthood. Their outlook is still oriented toward the future, which they see as far in the distance.
Those in the middle years of life have gained some reverence for life, because they are now aware of the brevity of human life, when compared to that of a tree, for example, or a mountain. They have experienced the power of Mother Nature. Some have been at the mercy of dictatorial governments, unscrupulous people, rigid social restrictions and expectations, moralistic religions, harsh bosses and supervisors at work, or the long arm of the law. Some of them have learned to revere power, while others revere its opposite: love. Many have turned their attention to the spiritual side of life, and are learning to revere the Author of Life, and life, itself.
Those who have made it to the winter of life have learned that perseverance is golden. They know that no matter how slowly you walk, you can go anywhere if you persevere. No matter how high or low your IQ, no matter how large or small your bank balance, no matter how famous or unknown you are, you can make a success of your life. No matter how horrible an experience may seem, you can get through it and you can keep on going, once you've reached the other side. :-)