By Jug Varner

It seems to me that most people are so concerned about age that they have a hard time being who they really are. Kids can't wait to be teens…teens can't wait to be adults…young adults can't wait to graduate, get married, and start a career. And so it continues with each age group, ad infinitum. But there will come a time when the waiting is over and older age sneaks up and bites either gently or very hard.

Unfortunately, for many who couldn't wait to reach each successive stage in life, suddenly they are much older and can't wait for that ache or pain to go away. But now they have time to look back upon their journey through life and wish they had spent a little more time enjoying the trip. Hindsight vision is 20-20.

No group seems to have what they want. Youth wants excitement and riches, elders want good health and companionship. Middle-agers just want to get the kids through college without experiencing bankruptcy or divorce. Then there is the great minority of thoughtful folk who learned to take life one day at a time and let the budding flower unfold — truly a rare breed.

As the old adage goes: “To soon old, to late smart.”

There's another saying that smart people take for gospel: “You are never too old to learn.” How many times have you heard people say, “Oh, I'm too old to learn…” whatever it is they don't want to learn. Many of them actually believe it… others use it as an excuse, or lack of desire. Whatever the motive, it is a lie. We have the gift of intelligence unlike any other type creature on Earth, but only a rare few of us come even close to exercising our potential thought process.

Another form of age-consciousness is the accent on youth to the exclusion of everyone else. But those who are smart enough to recognize the benefits of each stage of life's journey live a happier, more productive and satisfying existence along the way.

If someone asked me what stage of life I have enjoyed the most. I really couldn't give them a specific answer. By and large I have enjoyed all of them, and they seem to get better with age. I suppose I should have said, “I don't know. I haven't lived them all yet.” Like everyone, we have our joys and sorrows, our good times and bad, but there is a lot to say for focusing on the lighter, brighter side of life…even if you're swimming with alligators and somebody drains the swamp.

We are allotted 24 hours a day…and when they're gone, they're gone. I suppose the average person uses up about 7 hours sleeping, 3 hours eating or munching, and another hour (hopefully) for personal hygiene. The remaining 13 hours are devoted to study, work, play and your concept of the pursuit of happiness. Use your hours well by enjoying them as you go.