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Oliver Sacks Rejoices Over His 80th Birthday

Published July 8, 2013 5:12 PM by Brian Garavaglia
The Joy of Old Age (No Kidding) is a very inspiring editorial written in the New York Times by the well-known and world renown neurologist Oliver Sacks.  Sacks describes his life, as well as his thoughts, about his approaching 80th birthday.  Far from feeling a sense of despair, he explains that he welcomes his approaching birthday and is looking forward to having achieved such a milestone.  Sacks is still practicing, still teaching, and still writing.  He continues to feel compelled to make contributions and not sit or foster a level of complacency.  In this editorial, I personally was struck by how Sacks has adjusted to his later stage of life.  He does not attempt to sugar-coat his 80 years of life and he does mention that he has some regrets  as stated,

I am sorry I have wasted (and still waste) so much time; I am sorry to be as agonizingly shy at 80 as I was at 20; I am sorry I speak no languages but my mother tongue and that I have not traveled or experienced other cultures as widely as I should have. 

In his own inimitable way, he provides an incisive editorial that begs to be read.  Even as Sacks is approaching his 80th birthday, one cannot help but feel his excitement that he exudes as he approaches the end of his life, yet views each day enthusiastically and energetically as a new beginning.  As he states: "Eighty! I can hardly believe it.  I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize that it is almost over."  One has to think, that even as Sacks is in the winter season of his life, that season still will be a long and productive one. 

1 comments

Wow! what a great true life story! We can all take note of the things someone of his  age

Ernestine Johnson, Longterm Care - QI Consultant July 11, 2013 4:07 PM
Columbia MD

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About this Blog


    Brian Garavaglia, PhD
    Occupation: Long-term care administrator
    Setting: Sterling Heights, Mich.
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