The Real Truth about October

New England Today

October is a month of disguise and discovery. Green trees transform to a golden hue, and migratory birds take wing. Its culmination is the joyous celebration of the magical night of Halloween when costumed children pursue tricks and treats.

Do we take on new personas every day? People are creative and dress up daily to hide and reveal their personalities.

Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”

In his famous monologue, the Bard wrote about the seven acts of life and their seven ages:

1. The infant

2. The school child

3. The lover

4. The soldier

5. The justice in fair round belly and eyes severe

6. The lean and slippered pantaloon with spectacles

7. Lastly, second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything

The character responsible for this penetrating description is Jaques, known for his melancholy. I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs, remarks the caustic muse.

Through the monologue, Jaques demonstrates a profoundly cynical view of the aging process that is disputed by contemporary seniors. Now, older adults live independent, full lives with friends and family.

Technology and advances in health care outperform Jaques’ sans everything, and mere oblivion is unacceptable as older adults and baby boomers live longer, more satisfying lives with prospects of increased retirement options and lifelong learning.

In this sense, Jaques’ melancholy failed him. Had Shakespeare lived in the 21st Century the final act would be dignified and joyful.

October is a month of disguise and discovery, an opportunity to realize the alteration of all the stages and all acts of life for the better.

An earlier version of this article appeared in