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Do you think you're popular? My response would be "no" but then if you asked me 15 years ago I
would have replied with a definite "yes". Not because I had the respect and admiration of my peers- Who
has peers when they're 3 years old!?- but because I attracted much attention from people and a lot of love
from family. For I believe that when we are young, we are most popular and as we get older that popularity
diminishes. All this happens when you go through the different stages of life which are infancy, teenage,
middle life and our golden age.
During infancy, the most popular time in ones life, being pampered, loved and nurtured was very
much routine. We've all lured people of all ages to come pick us up, to give us hugs, to pinch our cheeks
and to give us playful looks. We adored the attention and couldn't get enough of it. We were popular and
yet sometimes, we were picky of who we gave our attention to. If we felt the least bit uncomfortable we
would just cry our lungs out until mommy or daddy would come to the rescue. Every burp was
attended to. Every tear was wiped from our cheeks. Every diaper got changed the second that it was needed.
Every toy we pointed at was bought for us or else we would create a scene that would be quite
embarrassing for our parents. Our lives were at the center of attention.
In our teenage life, 10 to 14 years later, we might have established relationships, sexual or proper
ones, and have had many people rely on us. Teachers who've taught us know us even after years go by.
Businesses needed our part-time employment. People, we don't even know personally, say "hi" to us just
because they recognize our face. No matter what we did, whether it was a failure or an accomplishment,
there were people who recognized us for it and gave us insight and encouragement. But it seemed, though,
that mother and father didn't seem to communicate with us as much as they did before because, I guess, they
assumed we had our responsibilities and could take care of ourselves. We were popular at that time yet, our
lives only seemed important to other people when we stepped out of the house.
Halfway through life, we can only hope that things haven't changed much from when you were a
teenager but that is unlikely for, when you've reached your middle age, your popularity starts to decrease
majorly. The job you have seems to disable you from the wild social life you once had. The number of
friends that you once have had have been cut down to a fraction of what it used to be because your friends
are probably going through the same things you are. The wife or husband says its now or never to have kids
(maybe that might help with your popularity). Stress from dealing with paper work, taxes, repairs,
mortgages, and future investments will totally ruin your once pubescent, merry attitude of easy living and
leave you bitter, worried, bald and, often times, sexually and socially impotent. You'll feel that your life is
being alphabetized, numbered, dated, marked, filed and placed in a filing cabinet.
Closing death, your golden age could be the most loneliest time in your life. You probably see
your children and their children on a once a week basis if you're lucky, although, it really depends on if
you can take care of yourself in the retirement cubical they put you in. They'd think that you'd be
comfortable living in a place with people your age but what would be the point in making friendships or
acquaintances when death could end them one night in your sleep. Senility, the polite way of saying an "old
folk gone crazy", distributed amongst several people in your proximity, theoretically, might give you a
sense of communion but, in fact, will most likely draw you away from them since senility was the thing you
made fun of in your youth and dreaded in your mid-life.
As death draws near, we think to ourselves how even less popular we will be when we're
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The Art of Happiness, szd speech
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