A child teeters a bit on the new bicycle needing a thoughtful person to clear the way ahead of him or her as this balance is different from the former three wheel support. A skiier tries the new thing he or she has learned in the first ski class with an intake of breath at his or her own daring, expecting some sort of empathy from people standing on the side lines. A twelve-year-old steers the motor boat for the first time and speeds it up beyond his yet to be learned control, with the jerking weaving rowboat coming toward him being inexpertly rowed by its new young owner. The fish is too big and its flops too strong for the success of the shiny new rod and reel in the hands of its new owner trying to pose as an expert. Awkward hands try to form rolls from the dough attempting to make the simplelooking twists for the first time. Novices in every area of possible skill to human beings whether in creativity, recreation, farming, or science labs, snow bound hunting and fishing, or city production, are to be seen everywhere. Novices of every age, size, type, and personality surround us. We think we can recognize novices, and we know when we are ourselves the novice in some area that is brand new to us.

It has hit me recently, however, that there is an area in which we are all novices all the time, an area that we take for granted too often in other people, and also in ourselves. Age. What age are you? Have you ever been this age before? Does it seem strange to you that other people expect you to be this particular age, and take it for granted? I remember when my mother was sixy-three and I was a brand new mother of our first baby girl at twenty-three. I can still feel the acceptance by myself that sixty-three was a reasonable ...

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