William Shakespeare’s play ‘As You Like It’ opens with the famous line: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” It’s a memorable and wise quote but there is a great deal more truth in this statement than at first meets the eye.
I know some people who are unhappy with their lives because they don’t like where they’ve finished up – seemingly succumbing to the mind-set that we leave education and take a job or whatever, maybe get married and have kids and then that’s it, we’re set for life – but that’s a false perspective: wherever you are at any time in your life isn’t where it ends, it’s all just phases.
Each of us goes through several incarnations of who we are in a lifetime – our dreams, ambitions and goals all alter or re-shape as we move through life and play out various roles and differing tableaus in many theatres (although some people do seem to spend a great deal more time in make-up than others). Life is a continuous flow of change as our environments, workplaces, friends, relationships and leisure activities are always switching or evolving and, indeed, our very personas are going through a similar process all the time as we learn more about the world, about our loved ones, friends and acquaintances or about ourselves as we each play out these countless scenarios. There will be times of laughter, sorrow, popularity, solitude, love, loss, passion, understanding, bewilderment and grief, and each of these casts light into the shadows within ourselves to expose qualities and feelings which help us to establish who we are.
I’ll be entering my forty-first year in a matter of weeks [expletives deleted] and I’ve nowhere near finished even defining who I am yet, but that’s good because ageing is growth – and not just of the waistband. There’s nothing wrong with getting older so long as it’s done with dignity. In fact, the hell with that: get older as you damn well please, just so long as you’re happy in yourself and that every change you make is a positive one for you. Age adds character and the fear-of-age construct is just a marketing ploy designed to sell you treatments that demonstrably don’t even work – unless, that is, you want to look like a mannequin or a blow-up doll (some people really do have odd fetishes, you know).
I know it sounds like a cliché but it really is what’s inside that counts. Be cool with yourself – sexy is far more about character than appearance anyway. At least, I hope it is: character I have in abundance.
Whatever, the point that I’m trying to make is that where you are in life never has to be anything more than a starting point for your next performance. Choose your role, get out there and play your heart out. Life may not be a dress-rehearsal but you never know when you’ll be getting your next curtain call.