Нигде в Интернете не смог найти текста чудеснейшего юмориста и актёра Джорджа Бёрнса. Исправляю эту несправедливость. Его как-то спросили, как ему удаётся в таком преклонном возрасте так чудесно выглядеть, вести активную жизнь, а при этом ещё и пить, курить и заниматься сексом. И он, на наше с вами счастье, ответил. Предлагаю в качестве домашнего чтения изящный ответ блестящего человека на щемящий вопрос.
UPD. Перевод эссе вы можете просмотреть здесь.
How To Live To Be 100 Or More, by George Burns
People keep asking me, “George, you are 88, how do you do it?” You make films, you do television, you give concerts, you record albums, smoke cigars, drink martinis, go out with pretty girls—how do you do it?
It’s simple. For instance, a Martini. You fill the glass with ice; then pour in some gin and a touch of dry vermouth, add an olive, and you’ve got yourself a Martini.
Today you don’t have to worry about getting old; you have to worry about rusting. So I also do exercises and walk a lot. Walking is even easier than making a Martini. I take one foot and put it in front of the other foot; then I take the other foot and put it in front of the other foot, and before I know it I’m walking. And you don’t even need an olive. Every morning, I walk a mile and a half. My advice is to walk whenever you can. It’s free; you feel better and look trim.
If you want to live to be 100 or older, you can’t just sit around waiting for it to happen. You have to get up and go after it. There’s no point in kidding yourself. When you get older you slow down, you wear out a little. But right now I’m 88, and there isn’t a thing I can’t do today that I couldn’t do when I was 18. I wasn’t so hot when I was 25 either. I saved everything for now. I hate to brag, but I’m very good at ‘now’.
Here are my other secrets for long life:
Think positive. If you ask me what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it’ s avoiding worry, stress, and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it. Worry, stress, and tension are not only unpleasant but can shorten your life.
My attitude is, if something is beyond your control, there is no point worrying about it. And if you can do something about it, then there is still nothing to worry about. I feel that way when the plane I am on is bouncing around in turbulence, it’s not my problem. The pilot gets a lot of money to fly that plane; let him worry about it.
I can honestly say I was not even upright about my heart bypass several years ago. It was beyond my control. It was the doctor’s business.
When I came round from the anesthetic, I heard the surgeon say, ‘George, you did great. You’re just fine.’
I said, ‘Doctor, I wasn’t the least bit concerned.’
‘Really?’ he said,’ I was a nervous wreck.’
Even that didn’t bother me. Then he handed me his bill, and I passed out.
Stay active. I know that for some people retirement works out fine. They enjoy it. I also know that for a great many others it presents lots of problems.
To me the biggest danger of retirement is what it can do to your attitude. When you have all that time on your hands, you think old, you act old. It’s a mistake. I see people who, the minute they get to be 65, start rehearsing to be old. They practice grunting when they get up, and by the time they get to be 70 they’ve made it—they’re a hit—they are now old.
Not me. When you’re around my age you’ve got to keep occupied. You’ve got to do something that will get you out of bed. I never made any money in bed. Yes, find something that will make you get out of bed—like an interest, a hobby, a business, a pretty girl—there we are, back in bed again. At my age at least let me talk about it.
Challenge yourself. When my wife Gracie retired in 1958, I could have retired too. Even today I don’t have to travel round giving concerts, making movies, doing television specials, recording country-music albums, being a sex symbol.
I firmly believe that you should keep working as long as you can. And if you can’t, try to find something that will interest you. Don’t wait for it to happen; make it happen. Remember, you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.
I look to the future, because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.
I feel sorry for people who live in the past. I know it was cheaper then, but you can’t keep looking in a rear-view mirror—unless you enjoy having a stiff neck. If you really think your life is over and you have no place to go, I advise you to take very short steps. It’ll take you longer to get there.
I don’t live in the past; I live in a house in Beverly Hills. It’s more comfortable. Actually, you may not believe this, but I don’t waste time looking through scrap-books of my career or rereading my old reviews—they were painful enough to read the first time. I find it’s best to fall in love with what you’re doing today. The things I did yesterday I was in love with yesterday. But that romance is over. I’m very fickle.
There’s an old saying. ‘Life begins at 40.’ That’s silly—life begins every morning when you wake up. Open your mind to it: don’t just sit there—do things. Swim the English Channel; find a cure for the common cold; be the first to go over the Niagara falls in a rocking chair. You see, the possibilities are endless.
If all else fails, try doing something nice for somebody who doesn’t expect it. You’ll be surprised how good you feel. The Scouts have the right idea. Many’s the time I’ve helped a young lady across the street and over to my place. You should see all my badges.
The point is, with a good positive attitude and a little bit of luck, there’s no reason you can’t live to be 100. Once you’ve done that you’ve really got it made, because very few people die over 100.
PS Спасибо Татьяне Коноплёвой, познакомившей меня когда-то с этим текстом.