I don’t hang around younger people trendier than me enough in order to keep up with what slang phrase means what. I can sure think back to a few of the genius sayings that stuck when I was younger and trendier though.

One of the better ones that should be able to apply to everyday life for generations to come has a lot of layers – don’t hate the player, hate the game. When it first came into play, it came laced with hip hop undertones in explaining a lifestyle of people not wanting to settle down just yet.

That phrase sums up the thought that it’s not the fault of an individual but the fault of a lifestyle when somebody else gets upset.

I’m not a parent so I have no clue how mentally and emotionally trying everything from the terrible 2s to those awkward teen years can be from a guardian’s standpoint. All I know, though, is I’ve been the cause of all those heartaches and headaches – we all have. That being said, don’t hate the age, hate the stage.

The babies start out cute and innocent until the crying and the teething starts, which must seem like it doesn’t end while it’s happening. The kids are going to be reclusive and not tell the grownups a thing before you know it, but they grow out of the shy stage soon enough to be rebellious – and still say that nothing happened at school that day.

It all balances out in time after the bad attitudes and sleeping in until noon passes, so parents, don’t rush the forces of nature because it’s just a part of growing up.

As much as college helps us shake out whatever wild child spirits we have left in us, the onslaught of the work days’ stress pile up and make us want to find whatever’s left of that stage and go crazy with it come the weekend. That eventually ends too.

Before you know it, every day may seem exactly the same, yet there may be a few lingering traits we can’t break like habits from our past.

No matter how old we get, we’ve got our moments we may one day regret. Growing out of them is really, really hard to do. No matter what, age is going to come with stages, tendencies, bad haircuts and even worse outfits we’ll eventually wish we never had.

I’ve still got my fits I can throw and have to catch myself a lot of times before I do. Even though I think I grew out of the temper tantrums a long time ago, it’s still a needed reliever to scream every now and then at a computer screen when nobody else is looking. One of these years, strained vocal cords will force that stage pass too.

With every fit life throws at us, the outbursts are how we’ve been raised to react. With the biggest of tests, those terrible 2s can bubble right back up through our treacherous 30s or unflattering 50s. We’ll regret those moments one day.

No individual should be faulted for how he or she acts or reacts when the fury of human nature comes into play. As much as we try to either submerge or shake off one stage of life, there’s going to be another one coming soon enough.

Thinking back to that original phrase – don’t hate the player, hate the game – no matter what game it is, there’s always going to be someone coming up to play it or going out to do something else.

When it comes to ages and stages, it’s the same principal. Teenagers now can be just as unruly as they were in the ‘50s with their slicked back hair and James Dean attitudes. The grandparents can admit to it, the great-grandparents can admit to it.

It just takes understanding and patience that for as long as we’re alive, we’re stuck in this game. Parents – and people in general – don’t hate the age, hate the stage.

RAY VAN DUSEN is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

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