A Bedtime Story I Can Live With

Last night, I was sick of politics. Fed up with the over-coverage, the polls that read like stock tickers, the media. Then I found this...

Last night, I was sick of politics. Fed up with the over-coverage, the polls that read like stock tickers, the media that shapes and molds... even complaints like the one I just made, that the media's to blame for all our woes, was getting on my nerves. My brain couldn't take one more single soundbite of predictable punditry. 


But The Week magazine was all I had to read before bed. I really like it. But last night? Deep breath, I crawled into bed, ready for an assault of Santorum-Romney-Obama-Israel-Tehran-Syria-OWS... STOP.


I found an essay in the back that suited me much better. It was from a book called 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans, by Karl Pillemer, Ph.D. (Hudson Street Press). In a nutshell: What are the keys to happiness according to those who have lived far longer on this earth than us? Now that's a good article for before bed. Frankly, I didn't really care if the author told me the path to happiness was pitching a tent in the North Pole and eating dead fish for dinner every night, I'd happily entertain the idea as an alternative to the national noise.


(NOTE: I'm not one of those "it's all garbage, all politicians are crooked, the process is a sham" folks. I know people who never want to tune into the madness, and I get that. I'm usually interested, but the mind has a way of telling you what it's full up on, and mine was screaming politics.)


Back to the essay. Pillemer highlighted eight biggies, eight things deemed critically important by our been-there-done-that elders. I won't summarize it here, because it's better heard straight from the mouths of those the author interviewed. I pasted the link below, because it's worth the read.


Meantime, here's my favorite takeaway—it comes from a 92-year-old woman named Cecile Lamkin. I love the second paragraph. That's going to stay with me, Cecile.


"I am much clearer now. I say that as an older person, not just as an adult, but as an older person, things are much clearer. I was just telling my daughter, I think I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life. And I've been thinking about why it is that I'm happier now. I came up with a lot of stuff. First of all, things that were important to me are no longer important, or not as important. The second thing is, I don't feel responsible in the same way that I used to feel. I've been a pretty responsible person, but I don't feel that responsibility anymore. My children are in charge of their lives, and whatever they do with them, they will do with them.

"And I live in a place, my house, that I love. In the summer here it is wonderful, and I live outdoors at that time. My family comes, friends come, and I use it like a vacation. I've also given up feeling that I have to entertain people. If there's someone coming up, they will bring such and such. It's very liberating for me. And I just feel a contentedness that I've never felt before. I've heard other people my age say the same thing."


See the rest of the article here:



Here's a link to the book: