Can you lose something that was never yours?

Yesterday I watched “Schlag den Raab” on TV; it is the German version of “Beat the Star”. Actually “Beat the star” is a copycat of “Schlag den Raab”. I wrote about Stefan Raab in one of my earlier posts. Yesterday’s candidate, Alexander, had the chance to win a million Euros. The game went on for more than 6 hours and was the longest show in the history of this series. Unfortunately Alexander lost the 15th game and with it 1 Million Euros.

Strictly speaking Alexander did not lose a million Euros. It was never his to begin with. What he had was the chance to win it. However I am pretty sure that after the show he must have felt the loss intensely. He was literally one shot away from a million Euros.

The 15th and final game was to kick a football through a rather large hole in a portable goal wall. It was also a game of sudden death; meaning that the game was over the moment only one of them does not score in a round. Just before he took the shot, Stefan Raab mentioned that it was a mean game. He said that people would not understand it, if one of them does not manage to shoot the ball through wall, because it looks relatively easy. He simulated the kick several times before finally kicking the ball. The ball sailed through the middle of the hole.

I wonder what Alexander’s strategy was, if he had a strategy in the first place? He kicked the ball relatively hard and hit the wall instead. The game was over after the very first shot! Six hours of hard work and nothing to show for it! Throughout the evening I was impressed with the strength and general knowledge of Alexander. He was as cool as a cucumber and a worthy competitor for Stefan Raab. Therefore I was surprised that he took the shot quickly and without obvious consideration.

How does he feel today? Does he feel the richer for the experience or the poorer for the loss? Would he be able to teach his kids play football in future, without thinking about how close he was to becoming a millionaire?

Can you lose something that was never yours?

She was never yours to start

She is ripe for the taking

If you had gotten through the wall

Sleeping beauty won’t be waking

Just because you call

Make room for the next

Knight in Shining Armour

Who is game to axe

The enchanted wall with ardour

Why cry over a kiss

That never took place?

You knew that one miss

Would throw you out of the race

It would seem

It was not on the card

Outside of your dream

She was never yours to start

Similarities between Gouda and Life

I love Gouda. I love the creamy taste of its young body rubbing against juicy ham between 2 slices of soft white bread. I love the slightly crunchy taste of its older body and gladly wash down the saltiness with a glass of fine red wine. It would be wrong to assert that Gouda gets better with age. To claim the opposite would be wrong too. Gouda tastes great in any age to me.

To me Gouda presents a suitable metaphorical comparison to the human lifecycle. As it is with Gouda, I will not claim that life gets better with old age. Surely there might be aspects that get better with age like our wealth of knowledge and experience. Similarly there are aspects that definitely worsen over time like our eyesight.

We should refrain from comparing old age with middle age or youth or focusing on the things that no longer function as well as they used to. Instead we should be seeing it as a unique phase of the human life cycle. As a unique phase that has its own ups and downs and potentials for self-realisation.

I used to liken life to the seasons in nature. Spring symbolises Childhood, summer symbolises Adolescence, autumn symbolises Midlife and winter symbolises Old age. Is one to view life as a process that progresses from growth, maturity, decay and ends in waiting for the cold embrace of death? That sounds like a rather pessimistic view of life. It doesn’t have to be that way. Winter can be a wonderful time for relaxation. A time to go on a virtual trip together with a good book, with a cup of hot chocolate in a hand, while snuggling under a fluffy blanket. Winter is also a wonderful time to take walks in the nature, especially for those who like me suffer from hay fever. Such a walk provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the meaning of life, while breathing in the cold and crisp winter air. Therefore there are ways we can make the wintery phase of like more pleasurable.

Although I have about thirty years to reach this phase of my life, I was inspired to write this post after watching a TED talk by Jane Fonda titled: Life’s third act. Below you will find a video of her talk, which lasts about 11:20 minutes.

Here is the gist of her talk. We live on average 34 years longer than our great-grandparents and a whole adulthood could fit into this time span. However old age is still viewed as the time before death – a time when our bodies weaken and degenerate. Jane Fonda calls the last three decades of our lives <em>The Third Act</em>. She talks about how an ageing demographic has forced (the intellectual) society to rethink its definition of this period in life, which has its own unique characteristics and opportunities. Traditionally life is viewed as an arch; where it is all downhill after the peak in midlife. But she thinks the metaphor of a staircase to more suitable to describe ageing. As we age –ascend the staircase – our spirits become wiser, more whole and more authentic.

Jane Fonda relates about the time when the thought of growing old made her depressive. Now she is right in the middle of the life phase she was terrified of and she realises she has never been happier. She does admit that ageing is no bed of roses and we might encounter problems as a result of our genetic construct. Nevertheless we can undertake measures to make use of the extra life time we have available. Old age presents us with the opportunity to review our lives. We can tie up loose ends, find closure for unresolved business, forgive others and ourselves and move on. As a result, we can change our relationship with our pasts.

In closing, she makes a point that as children we know who we are and what we want. As we grow older, to be part of a group or another person’s life we compromise who we are. In old age, we have the freedom to focus on our person again and redefine our lives. This would not only impact the rest of our lives but also impact the lives of the younger generation, who can use our new gained knowledge to (re)shape their own lives.

I agree with Jane Fonda, although in her stead I would have used the Gouda instead of the staircase as a metaphor. 🙂 Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s view of The Third Act? Do you already have plans to make your third act special?

Are my goals doomed to fail?

Today I watched a TED talk video by Derek Sivers titled: Keep you goals to yourself. Imagine how I felt when I watched it! I started blogging because I thought, if I told the world out there about my goals, I would feel obliged to see them through. According to Derek, it has been tested and proven that the opposite result is likely. Basically when we are admired for our goals, we feel satisfied. We are rewarded even before we achieve something and therefore we lose the dedication to see our goals through. It is the way our brains work. Continue reading

A Letter From Mom And Dad.

Very true! When I was young I remember getting impatient with my granny because of some stuff she did. I am sure she got yelled at a few times from her children too. But as I grew older I realised that she didn’t do it just to spite me or others. She was growing old and became forgetful and sloppy because she couldn’t see that well anymore. It is important to keep in mind that the handicaps of age would catch up with us someday. No matter how much exercise we do or healthy food we eat. When that time comes, we would be grateful to our loved ones for being understanding. We can ensure this behaviour by being role models. The way we take care of our elderly, would show our children how they should treat us when we grow old. As it says in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Simple law and still holds true today.

Have A Dream

My Child,

When I grow old, I hope you understand and have patience with me.
In case, i break a plate, or spill soup on the table because I’m losing my eye sight.
I hope you don’t yell at me.
Older people are sensitive , always having self-pity when you yell.
When my hearing gets worse and I can’t hear, what you’re saying.
I hope you don’t call me, “Deaf.”
Please repeat what you said, or write it down.
I’m sorry, my child.
I’m getting older.
When my knees get weaker, I hope you have the patience to help me get up.
Like how I used to help you while you were little, learning to walk.
Please bear with me.
When I keep repeating myself like a broken record,
I hope you just keep listening to me.
Please don’t make fun of me or, get sick of listening to me.

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