Sunday, December 6, 2009

Aging and Growth

I watched one of my very favorite movies this weekend, Harold and Maude, which was released in the early seventies. I try and watch it at least once a decade and always with friends.

Harold is a depressed and death obsessed adolescent who meets and falls in love with Maude, an elderly free spirit who is about to turn eighty and will teach him a tremendous amount about life and love and the wonder of it all. Among the many junkets of wisdom she shares with Harold is, "A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They're just backing away from life. *Reach* out. Take a *chance*. Get *hurt* even. But play as well as you can. Go team, go! Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room."

If you're willing to overlook the ending and travel lightly with the two zany main characters then it's a very special movie. It reminds us that life is to be savored at any and every age and that as Betty Friedan asserts, "Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength."

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