Friday, November 18, 2011

11


DOES LIFE BEGIN AT 40?


GEORGE WEBBER: How is it feeling at 42?
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: 42, what?!
GEORGE WEBBER: What should be…years!
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: It depends. How do you feel?
GEORGE WEBBER: I feel betrayed.
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: Oh, really?
GEORGE WEBBER: Well, you know what they say. Yes, what they say and who say it…that life begins at 40. I’ve already wasted two years, so I realize that I’ve been deceived.
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: I don’t know. I think these two years have been good.
GEORGE WEBBER: Oh, because you are only 38.
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: Lower your voice.
GEORGE WEBBER: Hey Sam, I want you to promise me one thing.
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: You will say…
GEORGE WEBBER: Never…never do surprise me with a party if…
SAMANTHA TAYLOR: Cheers!
GEORGE WEBBER: Understand me, I’m empty. I have to fill my life.
                                                                                                            —10, 1979, Blake Edwards.


LET ME TELL YA, John Lennon used to sing, “They say life begins at 40. Age is just a state of mind. If all that’s true, you know that I’ve been dead for thirty-nine.”

A couple of weeks ago, I watched the movie “10.” George (Dudley Moore) is a Hollywood songwriter, who goes through a mid-life crisis, so he starts staring at young girls on the street and envies his high-living neighbor, causing great concern to his lover, Samantha (Julie Andrews). One day while driving home, he spots the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, Jenny (Bo Derek). He decides to follow her to Mexico, where she’s on her honeymoon with her husband.

If all men are entitled to pursue happiness by the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and as Stendhal once said, “Beauty is the promise of happiness,” I can’t blame the poor man. He’s just chasing the Promised Happiness.

Drawing an analogy, if crisis strikes, should I move to Silicon Valley—not the one where your brain gets stimulated, but where you put silicon to different and never-thought zones of your body—, turn into a beautiful barbie, buy a convertible car, and date hot toy boys?

Alas, my Dedicated Readers, we all go through life stages, and crisis usually hits when we are plagued by feelings, aside from the worldly worries, that life has no meaning and, on top of that, that life has an irremediable end. And as getting older, if not solved, this feeling might get pretty nasty, like carrying a ticking time bomb belt, which one day, for one reason or another, will explode.

I got to thinking that there are no treasure maps, nor guidelines; and the human being is so complex that what can serve to a person, that same solution can be dangerous for another. Yet, one thing you got to admit, the human being is a pretty damn good machine. The whir we hear is like the lights flashing on the dashboard warning us “No gas, no gas, no gas...” And you know what happen when your car is running out of gas, right?

To me, it has nothing to do with age. Life starts to have a meaning when we live consciously and purposely, with personal integrity.

First and foremost, we should find out who we are, what our values are, and live according to them. This long inner journey[1] starts off when we stop running around like crazy—as Pascal said once, “All of man’s unhappiness comes from an inability to stay in his room alone”—and stop blaming everybody you may know—Also everybody you may not know[2]—and look ourselves in the mirror, which, unlike your heart, doesn’t conceal secrets. And from that point, we start letting go all our worries and walking up. Slowly but steadily.

Let’s face it, it is not easy to be conscious 24/7. Our mind tricks us into traveling from the past to the future. I read somewhere that we should live in an apartment with a window overlooking a cemetery, in order to recall us that there’s no ulterior reason to postpone life.

Once we know who we are, we will be aware of which song we want to sing. So once identified our goals/purposes, we should undertake the actions toward their achievement. Vaclav Havel, former president of Czechoslovakia and essayist and poet, put it that way, “It is not enough to stare up the stairs, we must step up the stairs.” And it turns out that while stepping up the stairs is when we feel that life has a meaning.



[1] Without an inner journey, life will never live up to our expectations, hopes, and desires.
[2] See, it’s really convenient to believe in Gods.


Copyright © 2011 by THE PYTHAGOREAN  STORYTELLER. All rights reserved.

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