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Aging

Posted November. 21, 2006 06:36,   

한국어

Leafy green trees in the fall seem somewhat out of place. Trees getting ready for the winter in the fall are more natural. Isn’t this why scarlet-tipped autumn trees are so beautiful? The aging process of human beings, too, is as natural and beautiful as these autumn trees that dye the mountains in colorful shades.

The author of this book is a novelist. But he is also famous for his books that speak of life’s proverbs, such as “Finding Comfort in Company”; “Enjoy Life, Think Positive” and “Thank You for Today.” Almost 80 years old now, he made a vow on his 37th birthday saying, “I am now in my latter years of life, I should make a list of things to avoid when I am elderly.” That is why this book has a subtitle called Gyerorok. He wrote in the introduction of this book when he was 40 years old that he wished those over 60 years of age would not open this book. It was because he intended the book for those on the brink of aging, those in their thirties and forties as he was. Yet he still said, “There is no right path in life.” It meant that the advice in this book was not meant for everyone, and that everyone was free to disagree to his words.

For example, “You must not think that you can tell your family everything”; “Have more discipline as you grow older”; “Do not think you are right all the time”; “Thinking that money is everything is a cheap thought”; “If you pass the average life span, you will not be promoted;” “Until you die, reduce your possessions”; “Exercise regularly”; and “The best thing about growing old is forgiveness.” There is nothing wrong about these maxims. We have all heard them once at some point. The harshness in phrases like, “Do not criticize how others live, just respect them for who they are,” “Twisted thoughts are dumb, change your mentality,” and “Do not use old age as an excuse for failure,” almost make us angry, even. You might slap your thigh when you read, “When you grow old, do not go early to bed and rise early, make it a habit to sleep late and sleep in.” The writer expects those kinds of reactions from readers, in fact. Nodding your head in agreement, then disagreeing, getting irritated, getting mad- these emotions will help readers develop Gyeroroks of their own. I want to add one more, “Do not avoid love even when you’re old.”

The third foreword that he wrote at the age of 70 was, “I realized people are best when they are themselves.” It’s natural that human beings should be flawed to their very graves. Flawed as you are, then, you should read Gyerorok, if only to ascertain your incomplete existence and to rejoice in it. Time is running out.