University of Nebraska Medical Center

Life Lessons on Resilience and Uncertainty

How do we live joyfully while experiencing disruption? And what are the essential tools for resilience and equanimity through massive dislocation and uncertainty? An interesting read from an Opinion piece in the Washington Post.

My neighbor lived to be 109. This is what I learned from him.

Washington Post

arly one August morning during a heat wave in Kansas City, Mo., I stepped outside to fetch the Sunday newspaper — and something stopped me in my tracks.

My new neighbor was washing a car. In my memory (this detail is a matter of some disagreement around the neighborhood), it was a shiny new Chrysler PT Cruiser, the color of grape soda pop. It belonged to my neighbor’s girlfriend, and I couldn’t help noting that the vehicle in question was parked in the same spot where she had left it the night before. I deduced that a Saturday night date with the glamorous driver had developed into the sort of sleepover that makes a man feel like being especially nice the next morning.

My neighbor was bare-chested, dressed only in a pair of old swim trunks. With a garden hose in one hand and a soapy sponge in the other, he flexed his muscular chest with each splash and swirl, his wavy hair flopping rakishly over one eye.

This was Dr. Charlie White. Age 102.

Charlie, I soon learned, was an extraordinary specimen: hale and sturdy, eyes clear, hearing good, mind sharp. His conversation danced easily from topic to topic, from past to present to future and back. Even so, one does not expect, on meeting a man of 102, to be starting — as we did that day — a long and rich friendship.

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