My beloved mentor, Dr. Howard Stein of Columbia University in the City of New York, celebrated his 87th birthday on July 4, 2009, and in that celebration of his life, he shared his special wisdom with me.

“David,” he said:

Tell your readers that the problem is not realizing that you have gotten old, but that you discover you are getting older!  That awareness, as a daily occurrence, is shocking!

Consider yourself warned against your inevitable end and your fading wishes!

As each day passes, I am made more aware than ever of the meting of time against expectation, and how despair outlives joy and why cruelty is becoming more common than unexpected.

I have not lived Howard Stein’s incredible life; he has touched many pinnacles and been unfairly felled by the frailties of the human body — but he always perseveres — and in that living example, he provides the greatest lessons: 

If you fall, stand up.

If you’re wrong, right it.

Allow your dreams to awaken you.


  1. That’s brilliant, David. Instead of moping about how we are old, we think to the now – we are getting older. Let’s do something now.

  2. It’s a hard lesson to accept, Gordon, that we’re decaying before our very eyes… and each day we live, the more we see the creeping death inside us.

  3. What a great lesson to impart though David! For the one thing in life that is certain is death, so therefore we know that’s taken care of (we just don’t know the exact expiration date so to speak). I recently told a friend of mine who was living his life in fear of his own mortality that very thing & that he would be essentially not living his life to the fullest if all he did daily was live his life fearing his death…instead, embrace that knowledge & live each day learning, living & getting back up again, living each day to the fullest extent possible….

  4. That’s a great story! The lesson is certainly important and lost on most of us: We are tender and fragile, but if we worry about that cheapness, we’ll never live. We’ll just sit around waiting to die.

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