The Best Time Of My Life

Thanks to Ray Mitchell for pointing me to this piece from Joe Kemp.

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It was June 15, and in two days I would be turning thirty. I was insecure about entering a new decade of my life and feared that my best years were now behind me.

My daily routine included going to the gym for a workout before going to work. Every morning I would see my friend Nicholas at the gym. He was seventy-nine years old and in terrific shape. As I greeted Nicholas on this particular day, he noticed I wasn’t full of my usual vitality and asked if there was anything wrong. I told him I was feeling anxious about turning thirty. I wondered how I would look back on my life once I reached Nicholas’s age, so I asked him, “What was the best time of your life?”

Without hesitation, Nicholas replied, “Well, Joe, this is my philosophical answer to your philosophical question:

“When I was a child in Austria and everything was taken care of for me and I was nurtured by my parents, that was the best time of my life.

“When I was going to school and learning the things I know today, that was the best time of my life.

“When I got my first job and had responsibilities and got paid for my efforts, that was the best time of my life.

“When I met my wife and fell in love, that was the best time of my life.

“When we came to Canada and started a family, that was the best time of my life.

“When I was a young father, watching my children grow up, that was the best time of my life.

“And now, Joe, I am seventy-nine years old. I have my health, I feel good and I am in love with my wife just as I was when we first met. This is the best time of my life.”
.

End

 

Note from author: October 2008 update: Just a little background to this short story. After I had that conversation with Nicholas in 1990, I would share that conversation with people, who were anxious about their upcoming birthday. The birthday that usually represented the next decade in their lives. After approximately 4 years, someone advised me to send it to “chicken Soup for the Soul”. It was subsequently selected for their upcoming “5th Portion”. By the time it was published I had moved and attended a different Fitness Center. I never knew Nicholas’ last name and will probably never know if he, or anyone of his family members were aware that he inspired so many people with his philosophical comment on life. Interestingly, his commentary flowed out of him completely without taking time to ponder. Eighteen years later, he may still be with us or has passed on. Hopefully, he, or someone close to him will have made the connection.

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4 Responses to The Best Time Of My Life

  1. what a post! thanks for sharing Raghu and I just loved the story you have sent, it is brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theotheri says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I think our modern obsession of being and looking young is unfortunate. The other day, a woman said to me “well, we all hate growing old,” and I said no, it wasn’t true for me. Being 18 for all 76 years of my life is what I would hate. Every decade seems to me to have its challenges and rewards. And it’s just as true now as it was at 18. In fact, personally, I’m much happier and less conflicted at 76 than I have ever been.

    Great post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tskraghu says:

    Very true. Acting ones age is perfectly normal and enjoyable, I think.

    Wrote this in jest some years ago:

    https://ksriranga.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/life-at-sixty-five-plus/

    Like

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