Tuesday, November 21, 2006

4 Stages of Life

NOTE: You may need to click on the picture to see it.

So I was just gonna post the picture and let it speak for itself, but Ezzie thinks I have some sort of wisdom which i should let out. Sorry if I don't live up to your standards... my wonderful college seems to be melting my brain.

If you haven't yet clicked the picture, do so now. Then come back for the Shiur*.

Pshat* is....
You start life fully dependent on others. A baby doesn't need to be brilliant to know that if he wants to be fed, he'd better start crying to let someone know.

Life moves on. Baby grows up and turns into... a hyperactive young child whose energy is mainly without cause, but which is exaggerated with the help of sugary pop. (That's soda where many of ya'll come from.) Anyhow, young child can probably locate the soda all by himself, and even pour it and drink it without any help. 'Course, he did need a bit of adult help.... Dad drove to the store, payed with money he earned at work, twisted off the cap cuz it was a bit stuck, and washed the dirty cup afterwards. But hey- this kid is learning to be independent!

Life moves on a bit more. Boy grows into teenager, and after a bit more moving on he's a full-fledged adult. Ah, 21 and legal. And legal means... fully responsible. The adult is supposed to be self-sufficient, both in regards to his needs and his moral decisions. That means that in the event that he'd act a little irresponsibly and knock back a few too many beers... he's still responsible for any dumb mistakes he does in his inebriated state.

Life continues to move, whether we like it or not. Middle age sneaks up, followed by the senior years. And sadly, as youth slips away, many people also watch their health go with it. And as their physical and/or mental abilities deteriorate, they return back to the dependent state of infancy.

Now for the Drash*....
I'd say it's a fair guess that most SerandEz readers are in the beer stage of life. (I'll count that as ages 18-60, even though its a bit earlier than the legal and senior ages.) While it is true that we are quite independent at this point, it's important to note that we shouldn't be. What do I mean? Sometimes we think, "I'm an adult. I can handle my problem's alone. I shouldn't ask for help." This applies to men who refuse to ask for directions despite being 80 miles the wrong direction, women who are crumbling under the stress of running a family and/or working, and the general public who have trouble admitting they need help or advice. Our Sages tell us, "Da'agah B'lev Ish Yaschena," which is loosely translated to mean that when a person is struggling internally, he should speak about it to someone who can listen and/or offer advice. And if Chazal* are telling us that, I guess it's time to take down the barriers and face up: Independence is not equal to isolation. We were created to interact, and we should take advantage of all that others can give to us.
Shiur - lecture
Pshat - simple meaning
Drash - deeper explanation
Chazal - our Rabbis of blessed memory


  1. a picture says a thousand words, but the words in this case elucidated a lot.
    Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do, cause that's equal to admitting there's a problem.
    Great analogy!

  2. Stephen Covey in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" explains that the stages of life are as follows:

    1 - Dependence. When we are young we are completely dependent on our parents for everything.

    2 - Independence. As we grow older, we make our own money, cook our own food, live by ourselves...we are independent.

    3 - Inter-dependence. This is the highest level -- when a person realizes that the ultimate way to live is through interactions with others and being interdependent with society in general.

    Not sure I remember all the facts because I read the book many years ago, but those three stages were the basics.

    BTW, the book is a must-read. Though much of what he says is pashut, it's still an awesome book.

  3. Though much of what he says is pashut, it's still an awesome book.

    The best books usually are the ones that focus on the obvious.

  4. Shkoyach rebbetzin!

    I give a bracha that everybody get the help they need in life for whatever they might need help with.

  5. thank you thank you.
    mordy- did you just call me rebbetzin?!? TAKE THAT BACK! i try so hard not to be preachy! but anyhoo, amain.

  6. Chillax di, I meant it in a good way! It wasn't preachy.