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Life is not a smooth path, we learn from our mistakes and experiences. The difference between those who prosper in life and those who are failures is the desire to keep on living. It is based on this realization that the poem entitled 'poem at thirty' was written. Taking each step at a time is a practice that individuals need to adapt. This will help them a great deal in realizing their potential. It will also be a good start towards appreciating all that life has to offer. We learn from our daily experiences and unless we use those experiences to uplift our self esteem, we will die lonely and sad. Eventually, we will end up complaining that life is unfair and saying that we were not given equal chances. It is important to appreciate the little things that we have in life.
The author has widely used the theme of appreciation and acceptance in trying to reach out to the reader. He does this to encourage those that have low self-esteem to rise and be glad for what they have in life. After all, there are others wishing they could have as much in their lives. For example, the poet notes that the persona feels inferior as compared to the other children along the street. This is evident when the persona says 'The rich little kids across the street twist their swings in knots. Near me,' (Ryan line 1&2). This shows that the persona feels that those other children are better off than him or her. Therefore, the writer hopes that the persona would appreciate himself for who he is and cease making comparisons. This would eventually be helpful in accepting himself.
The poet also hopes that the persona would have positivity in viewing life. He deems this as important in ensuring that the persona reaches his goals in life. Life becomes what we perceive it to be. If we view life negatively, there is hardly any good thing that will come out of it. The poet wishes that the persona would be more enthusiastic about life as this would be important in raising his self-esteem. This is clear stated when he says 'Probably one hundred thousand impressions wrinkle the brain in a moment like this, but if you could think about it you'd admit the world goes on in any case,'(Ryan lines 21,22,23,24). The persona seems to already have a negative perception about what each morning brings. Therefore, it is his role at an individual level to ensure that he raises his self-esteem so as to be more productive and jovial in life.
Instead of complaining about the little that life has to offer at the break of each dawn, the persona should appreciate the fact that they are able to wake up to a new day altogether. Instead of thinking that nobody will offer them love, they would be thinking about how lovely they are. This would be helpful in accepting themselves for who thy really are. In the end, they would be full of life instead of letting their lives dwindle away in loneliness. The writer intends to pass on a message that one must appreciate oneself before others could also appreciate them. Self appreciation will help the persona in accepting themselves for who they are in life.
The poet gives an illustration of a neighbor who has his own troubles. However, when the rest of the world, including the persona, look at him they have the impression that his life is smooth. This may not be the case. The only difference between the persona and his neighbor is the fact that his neighbor overlooks the little misfortunes that are a part of each day. He chooses to be positive in life. This is an example of a person with high self-esteem and love for life. He appreciates what life has offered him and accepts himself for who he is in life. This is irrespective of the hurdles that he may face each and every day. The use of this illustration is the writer's strategy of showing the persona the m kind of attitude that he should have towards life.
The poet has also greatly explored the theme of love. His way of looking at love is based on the persona's need for love. This is because the persona spends most of the time thinking how lonely he is in life. He also complains of his friends having deserted him. The writer wishes the persona would look at life more positively. He wishes the persona would understand that one does not have to be loved in order to have a good life. 'A lover's smell, the gut laugh of a friend, become hard to recall as a particular wind' (Ryan lines 55, 56). The persona has the perception that he must have friends around him in order to enjoy life. However, the writer seeks to make him understand that love is not the key to life. With or without love and friends, life goes on. Therefore, the persona should not dwell on things that are not a necessity to living life to the fullest.
The poet tries to make the persona understand that becomes better and more enjoyable when one appreciates change. The poet advocates for lack of rigidity. He is of the perception that if the persona spends some time enjoying the changes in life, he will be enjoying life more. The poet insists that it is through enjoying the ordinary things in life that we are able to appreciate life more than before. For example, he says that watching the flowers break will help the persona realize that a change in life is good in being able to enjoy life. This is because changes create differences in life. 'Watch tiny explosions as flowers break ground' (Ryan line 69).
The poet also examines the theme of maturity. He is of the perception that at an age of thirty, one should be able to correct the wrongs that they see. He also insinuates that at this age one should be able to make the right choices. As the older person, it is wrong to continue watching the young ones make mistakes without correcting them. The poet indicates that an elderly person has the responsibility over those younger than him. This is because they may not know the harm that they are causing themselves. However, the older person is in a position to make a choice and realize when one is going wrong. This is illustrated in the poem when he says 'If a kid bounces her pelvis against a chain-link fence, bounces so metal sings and it seems she must be hurting herself how old must I get before I tell her to stop?' (Ryan lines 78, 79, 80, and 81).
Towards the end of the poem, the poet engages the reader by indicating that if one maintains the right attitude in life, they will enjoy every day that passes by. Unlike in the beginning when the persona loathed mornings and the life awaiting them, they would long for those mornings like never before. This is because they realize and appreciate that each days a blessing. They also realize that as they become of age, their responsibilities continue expanding. It is their responsibility to shape future generations. They also derive joy from knowing that they changed someone's life.
He also notes that appreciating one's life opportunities is important as not everybody has such chances. Therefore, the poet enlightens the persona to enjoy life as it comes because one never knows how long they are going to live. He hopes that the persona realizes that living to see a new day is gift that they should not take for granted. This is because not all those who wish to live to their old age make it. 'Tomorrow's thousands losing their loved ones' (Ryan line 94). Therefore, they should grab the opportunity granted to them to enjoy all that life offers.
Generally, the poet throughout his work hopes that individuals would learn to appreciate what life offers them. This is because there are challenges in life but we must learn how to overcome them. Therefore, it is very important that people learn the art of being grateful. This is because they are many people who long for such opportunities but never get the chance. We shape our lives through the choices that we make. Thus, it is important that individuals learn to make the choices that allow optimizing everything that life offers. Continuously mourning over what we are not fortunate to have will not make our lives better. On the contrary, that only makes our lives miserable.
'Poem at thirty' is an illustration of how people should live their lives so as to ensure that they get the best out of it. It is an illustration of the real life experiences that individuals go though each day. It displays the hard choices that people are faced with every day. Moreover, it provides solutions on how to solve those problems.