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Piedrahita: At dinnertime, perspective is on the menu
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I’ve reached an age of almost knowing about life. Sometimes, I still believe I know nothing, yet I know more than I did the day before yesterday.

I view life in three stages: “breakfast time,” “lunchtime,” and “dinnertime.”

“Breakfast-time” of life
In our “breakfast time,” of life, ages birth to 21, we are learning to be human. In childhood, we attend school and learn how to read and count and reason. Group activities help us to socialize with other humans. This is also a time to learn about other animals and how to care for them.

Our world is getting larger; we travel to different places and learn about new things. We learn good manners, or we learn behavior that isn’t suitable in our society.

Life is good! Our parents, or the person rearing us, hopefully have a child they can be proud of.

We also learn, as our parents do, that each child is his or her own person.

Today, our young people have iPads and iPhones. They can travel all over the world with a click. Yes, a click! In my “breakfast-time,” a “click” (that is, a clique) was the “in crowd,” the popular group.

I have marveled at the people who have gotten through their “breakfast time” to “lunchtime’’ in 2013. It’s not easy these days.

“Lunchtime’’ of life
After breakfast comes lunch. I see “lunchtime’’ as ages 21-50. Why, you might ask? Look at your life: What were (or are) you doing between those years? I bet you were (are): getting it together, going to work, getting more education or joining the military, getting married and starting a family.

Your brain was (is) filled with the joys of just being young. You had (have) become an adult. There was (is) no stopping you. Full steam ahead.

In this lunch period of life, the world is ours to explore; clearly, it’s a time to find out who we are. It’s funny how quickly this time goes; it is here today and gone tomorrow.

Most of us think nothing about our health unless a medical problem causes us to take a hard look.

And if we somehow lose our way during this period, we have time to take another path, as long as we don’t have heads as hard as rocks.

This lunch period is very valuable. We can live our lives to the fullest; we can dream big.

But a day comes when we learn that no dream is ever fulfilled without risk or considerable effort. We gain perspective.

During “lunchtime,’’ we all have ups and downs and sometimes want to chuck it all. But we keep moving forward. What recourse do we have?

“Dinnertime” of life
This is what I call the cool time of life. It starts at, shall we say, about age 52.

You are no longer a young adult, but you are not old enough to be “old.”

It is a time of transformation for us and those around us. We look in a mirror and see a little gray; some of us start shopping for hair color. This is OK! I say do it! If I had the nerve, I believe I would; I just don’t want to have black, white and another color at once.

Wearing glasses is also a standard for most dinner-timers. I say if you have to wear them, make a fashion statement.

This is a time for “you” and not “them,” them being your children. Hopefully, they are out on their own and doing as well as they can in 2013. I realize circumstances may cause a return to the nest in this day and time. In some cases, their return is helpful to you and them. If they come home, they often bring others with them, meaning “the grandchildren,” and, a spouse. Oh, happy day!

In the dinnertime period, you probably will visit a doctor more. There are pains and aches in your body that weren’t there in your lunch period.

My dad used to say his pains were telling him that he’s alive. I never believed him, but now I understand.

Your “dinnertime” can be a time to explore a new career and meet people you normally wouldn’t meet. Whatever you decide to undertake, enjoy it.

I read this once, attributed to an “unknown writer’’: “Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest you will ever be. So enjoy the day.’’

That’s good advice at any age.

Dorothy Frazier Piedrahita welcomes reader comments. She can be reached at