Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life
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More and more in the news today, we are hearing about phenomenal advances in the "fight against aging." But what Rosenblatt suggests to combat age is far more valuable than any scientific breakthrough-he breaks down the hardest part of aging, the mental anguish of growing older with fifty-four gems of funny, brilliant, wise, indispensable advice.
A book to savor, a book to keep, and a book for all ages.
This little guide is intended for people who wish to age successfully, or at all. . . . One may think of this work as a how-to book, akin to many health guides published these days, whose purpose is to prolong our lives and make them richer. That is the aim of my book, too. -from the Introduction
And this is just the start of Roger Rosenblatt's charming and thought-provoking guide to surviving the episodes that shamelessly shave years off of our lives. With a wry sense of humor and peerless wit, Rules for Aging provides guidance that is, hands down, the most practical, pleasurable and, most importantly, painless advice you'll ever receive. As Rosenblatt writes, "When I urge you to refrain from a certain thought or course of action, I do not mean to suggest that you are in any way wrong if you do the opposite. I mean only to say that you will suffer."
Rule #1: It doesn't matter
Whatever you think matters-doesn't. Follow this rule, and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late, or early; if you are here, or if you are there; if you said it, or did not say it; if you were clever, or if you were stupid; if you are having a bad hair day, or a no hair day; if your boss looks at you cockeyed; if your girlfriend or boyfriend looks at you cockeyed; if you don't get that promotion, or prize, or house, or if you do. It doesn't matter.
around: “I said to Yeats.” I studied briefly with O’Connor in Dublin. And I shall never forget the day he told me: “Roger, you are the best writer since me and Yeats!” I miss him very much. 35 Never say any of the following a. “ That’s the best thing you’ve ever done!” People assume that there is a consistency of perfection in their work, or, as a hidden thought, they assume that you assume so. If you tell them that something represents “the best thing you’ve ever done,” they will hear: “How
shake you up usefully, produce better results. It may even remind you why you like doing your work in the first place. And worry not. Soon all these young whizzes will be working for people much younger than themselves who will accord them no automatic appreciation either. Now, don’t you feel better? 44 Abjure fame but avoid obscurity Enough has been written about the perils and penalties of pursuing fame. Apart from the wealth of neuroses it engenders and the sense of blinding unreality with
given them. I read him some of the letters. When, in the last days, he fell into a coma, I continued to read him the letters; you never know. Not for a moment could Lewis have doubted that his life had been noticed. 45 Fast and steady wins the race Whatever it is that you do well later in life you probably did exceptionally well at the beginning, causing people to sit up and remark on how especially gifted and capable you were. Now that you have done your work for many years, you remember
have you wasted your life up to this moment of clarity? This, this is who you were meant to be all along. “This” is usually followed by: A novelist, a sculptor, a painter of watercolors; a small but self-sustaining farmer, a vineyard owner, possibly a carpenter (though that takes training). Soon you are listening to your mind compose one long explanatory letter to your boss. If it were possible to park one’s mind at the gate of a resort or wherever one goes on vacation—the way cowboys were made
conspiracy of silence against me. What ought I to do, Oscar?” Wilde advised: “Join it.” Winston Churchill called Clement Attlee “a sheep in sheep’s clothing,” when he was not calling him “a modest little man with much to be modest about.” Then there was this famous exchange: Lady Astor: “Winston, if you were my husband, I should flavor your coffee with poison.” Churchill: “Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.” The fact that one has heard these remarks hundreds of times, along