On Ageing: The simple truths from Charlie

a person walking

The simple truths from Charlie

“..Then, if we live long enough, we might soften into the second stage, and become simplifiers. For all the books on all the shelves of all the world’s libraries, life must in the end be lived as a series of discrete moments and individual decisions. What we face may be complicated, but what we do about it is simple. “Do the right thing,” Laura White told her son. “Do unto others”, a teacher told his disciples, “..as you would have them do onto you.”

Charlie lived so long that the well of complexity fell away entirely, and he saw that life is not so hard as we tend to make it. Or rather: no matter how hard life may be, the way we ought to live becomes a distillate of a few words. The essentials are familiar not because they are trite, but because they are true.

I picture him even now, his eyes dimmed but his mind bright as a diamond, filling the sheet of paper with his simple truths.

  • Work hard
  • Spread joy
  • Take a chance
  • Enjoy wonder

And I have my answer, my book for my kids. How does one thrive through a maelstrom of change? By standing on ground that is permanent.”

Excerpt from “The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the remarkable American life of a 109-year old man” by David Von Drehle.

Charlie continued to work well into his 90s.

Thank you David for writing such a lovely book on Charlie.


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