Life Stages According to the Manuals

(Dang, my birthday’s coming and I’m feeling cynical…)


We start with Dr. Spock or a child “expert”

We new mothers, scared, confused about

Developmental stages of our babies

Sleep through the night

Walk by age (fill in the blanks)

Potty trained no later than (fill in the blanks)

Playing well with others

In the supermarket

We buy our children their first manuals:

Teen magazines

Boys avidly reading body building ones

Girls poring over hairstyles and makeup

Boys to eat protein and develop strong bodies

Girls to eat lettuce and look like little boys

Here comes the bride is next

How to have the perfect wedding

When the cost of one day’s ritual

Would do better as a down payment

On a house

A dream house

In the right kind of neighborhood

So the next manual details

The perfect house

The perfect lawn

(Get rid of the unsightly dandelions

Despite their being an important

Immune system herb

That our parents and grandparents

Used to make healthy wine and salads

Before the invention of herbicides)

Career manuals are now available for

Both women and men

How to be successful

(i.e., earn lots of money)

Before the age of forty

Because one should have

A huge 401K by age 50

To shelter us from the storm

And so it goes

Until old age

Is there a manual for that?

What happens to those who skipped

A few of the important milestones?

For those of us who bought into the 60’s disdain for money?

No house in a good neighborhood

To sell for the retirement condo

No 401K, bottomless savings

Shares and stocks and bonds

In short, an unsuccessful life

According to the standards of today

Doesn’t matter if we tried to be kind

Or gave our last dollar away to the homeless

The measure of success shows

When we click into our online accounts

So for those of us floundering

Without the manual that makes sense

For the unsuccessful

We need to write our own

“How To Be Unsuccessful In Old Age”

“Do What You Love, The Money Will NOT Follow”

Success, can it be defined by:

How many strangers did you hurt while climbing?

How many strangers did you help while climbing?

My mantra for success will never change

Despite their being successful

The Beatles said it best:

“And in the end

The love you take

Is equal to the love you make”

How I hope that is true…

© 2015 ViataMaja