Sunday, December 13, 2015

Two Things That Make a Difference

Passion and Humor

Recently, a young writer who has become a Facebook friend sent me an article about centenarians and to what they attributed their longevity. It was entertaining to read contradictory advice, such as: exercise faithfully; never exercise. Eat healthy, eat what you like. But as I stare seventy-eight in the face,  two of the items struck me that ring true: 1) find something you are passionate about and pursue it and 2) don’t stop laughing, especially at yourself.

I know I’m blessed with better health than many of my contemporaries, and I am thankful for that. However, I have to admit over the past couple of years I’ve been slowing down despite my best efforts. Being passionate about something has been the story of my life … first ballet, then opera, then musical theater. All of these require strength and agility. You'd be surprised how much energy it takes to direct a musical!

It makes me happier than I can say to have found this new passion for writing. In some ways, it is the most satisfying experience I’ve ever had – I’m creating, for the first time in my life. For me, it is a perfect time to have discovered how much I love to write. I have the time to devote to it. I’m lucky to have nimble fingers and an active mind and an overactive imagination!

I had lunch recently with a fellow writer and new friend who is a few years younger than I am. We spent over two hours talking about writing, and when we parted she made the comment: “You know, we’re really the same as we’ve always been, at least inside.” And she is right. Having a passion in your life keeps you young. You continue to look at life with wonder. You continue to learn and grow. You see possibilities and paths to pursue. (Notice what I did there? Who says alliteration is always bad?!)

We read often, “laughter is good for the soul,” and I agree completely. I think we grow up the first time we are able to laugh at ourselves: when we can look at ourselves honestly, and realize who we really are and accept and love that person, foibles and all. It’s vital to being able to deal with the passage of time. We have no control over that, but we can control how we look at the inevitability of growing older.

I have three longtime friends with whom I meet regularly for lunch. We’ve shared a great deal over many years, and our meals together are filled with laughter. I value these women; they are people to be treasured. We share a history … not just of things we have done together, but from watching the world around us change.

Here's some advice from this not yet centenarian: pursue your passion. Laugh a lot, especially at yourself. And listen to beautiful music whenever you have a chance … it is the best the universe offers us.

Now excuse me, because I have this book I’m working on and an inspiration just struck me …

The author in earlier times.

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