Set Your Milestones of Life
Asian proverbs contain a lot of analogies. Many of them are colorful referring to nature’s activities. Let us take an example of Japanese proverb. It goes, “An Ear of Rice Vows Deeper As It Ripens.” This is from short poem in Edo Era, author unknown. It says an ear of rice hang down lower, as it grows and ripens. It looks like vowing deep. It means that as people mature, they become humble. Another interpretation of this proverb in my way is as people get older and higher position in the society, they tend to become arrogant. Look at an ear of rice. As it ripens, it vows deeper as the head become heavier and more useful. We would like to be like rice and humble as we grow old and make progress in social position.
This interpretation came from the fact that people tend to become rude, impolite, and arrogant as they get older or get more advanced social position. So small number of people is like “an ear of rice”, and become more humble, more polite, and more compassionate. We should be careful not to be arrogant even you get older, richer, or higher social position.
Next, let us go to Chinese Ancient Philosopher, Confucius. He said he decided to learn when he was 15. He became independent on his study at his age of 30. He became confident with his knowledge at the age 40. He realized his mission given from God at the age 50. He started to listen to people with sincerity at his age 60. He became master of life at 70.
The above is as Confucius wrote about himself. There is no doubt he lived this way. At the same time, he is teaching people to be like him. Set the target of life by 15. Be professional by 30. Be confident and comfortable by 40. Be gentle and kind to others by 60. Master your life by 70. Confucius teaches people milestones of life.
Life is full of mysteries, however. People cannot follow their milestones as they set. My case is, for example, there was not goal set for life when 15. I tried to be independent when 30, but could not. I realized that my marriage was not working and divorced when 40. At the age 50, I still do not know the meaning of my life. No sign of God telling me some. My 60 and 70 are beyond my expectation.
There was a sword art master in Japan. His name is Sekishu-sai Yagyu. His life until he became 60 was full of confusion. In the end of medieval war period, his country was continuously attacked, and his enemy burned and killed his people. He was sorry that he was powerless to defend his country and people even with his sword skill. He laughed at his powerlessness, called himself to be “Stone Boat”. It meant that his life was a boat made of stone. It does not float. It does not sail. Later, his stone boat sailed, and he became a teacher of Shogun and his family became the leader of sword art in all Japan in 17th Century. He must have been pleased that he never gave up.