When Do We Start Getting Old

You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.

George Bernard Shaw

While in Poland, I had a close friend, Andrzej.  His father was a barber and used to cut my hair.  When I was in the first grade, my friend was in fourth. We used to walk to school together, and he was a figure of authority to me. One day, he told me how difficult school is.  “You are a good student now, but wait.  In a few years, you will see.” Three years later, I was in fourth and he was in seventh.  “You are still a good student, but in a few years you will really see the difference”.

Nothing has changed.  When I was approaching my 30th birthday, I was warned by older friends, that I was approaching the age of Jesus and there is no life afterward.  Again, nothing changed.  Then there was 40th, 50th, well, you get the message. Life was going on like nothing happened.

To me, it’s an attitude how do I approach things seemingly happening at random and how I do make sense of it. The only thing that counts is to have expectations of something new in my life.  To wake up every morning with the excitement of a young person before an intriguing date, a violinist before an important concert, a volleyball player before a championship match or a tourist before a trip to Italy.  It doesn’t even have to be so elaborate and rare occurrence, however.  Going out and meeting new people in a grocery store or museum can be equally rewarding.  Or just reading a book in total solitude for a change.

The worst thing is a feeling of being trapped, with no plans and no tomorrow and no hope for change.  People in prison do have hope, I suppose people in concentration camps didn’t.

I would like to know where I will die, so I will never go there.  But if I do, I want to be completely exhausted, with no music left in me.

But still the best pastime for me is a conversation with a good friend.

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