October 23, 2007

Aging

Tonight's fun: Reviewing the genitive case in Latin. Serbo-Croatian conversation. Armenian genocide. And the exercises I've been doing rather faithfully for the last year and a half or so.

I have a theory about why it's so important to exercise as one grows older: all the aches and pains that first appear when one passes 40 can be attributed to one's exercise routine rather than the passage of time. It's much better to think that I'm overdoing things a bit, rather than thinking that I'm being done in bit by bit.

In any case, it's much more important to work the brain than the body. The great danger, as with the body, is laziness. There's a notion from Buddhism that the habits of the mind are a bit like a groove: the more often you react one way to a certain idea or situation, the more likely you are to continue reacting that way. I would prefer not to fall into ruts.

Which reminds me of a quote I always liked. Towards the end of his life, Jean Cocteau--the French poet, filmmaker, painter and all-around polymath--was interviewed at his final home, a few months before his death. He was surrounded by photos and objects and books, souvenirs of his friends and collaborators, his lovers and his disappointments. The interviewer asked, "If this house were to catch on fire, and you could save only one thing, what would it be?"

Cocteau, not missing a beat, said, "Oh, definitely the fire!"

Posted by Ideofact at October 23, 2007 12:29 AM
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