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Life Lessons from Borrowed Grandparents
This is why I love David Brooks' brilliant series in the New York Times, "The Life Reports" A few weeks ago, Brooks asked readers over 70 to send him essays evaluating their lives, what worked, and what didn't. The resulting Life Reports make for fascinating, addictive reading. One man writes, "Often, people say ‘you have a perfect life’. And I reply, ‘Thanks, but it’s taken me 70 years to figure it out!’ Another, who gave himself an "F", wrote, a bit heartbreakingly, "Wishing nothing more to do with his father, who was not a positive role model and prophesied, 'Neil will never amount to anything,' Neil unconfidently spent the rest of his life running away and fulfilling that prophecy."
Brooks has also summarized the lessons learned from reading through hundreds of these essays, including the similarities between the people who were content with their lives. Want to be happy? Divide your life into chapters. Avoid rumination. Lean toward risks. Brooks writes that, among other things, the happiest people seem to be "strategic self-deceivers. When something bad was done to them, they forgot it, forgave it or were grateful for it. When it comes to self-narratives, honesty may not be the best policy." And, "People get better at the art of living...vague but uplifting spiritual experiences pepper their reflections."
Personally, I'm glad to hear that the art of living gets easier. And in a culture where aging is dreaded with an energetic fervor, it's nice to remember the reflection and, potentially, peace, that may come.
What no one tells you about aging
Aging in Hollywood (and elsewhere)
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