On June 22, 2008, I turned 61 and comedian George Carlin died at 71!
George Carlin was considered by many as one of the world’s top three comedians. He shares this with Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. George was the man in the middle at number two. Carlin was married, widowed and remarried. He had a long history of heart disease and drug abuse. How does a comedian and aging connect you might ask. Well, it is all about perspective.
George Carlin’s material was very focused on observational humor of his life and others, social commentary on humanity and American culture, and the interesting peculiarities of the English language. But the overall theme of his work, some say his genius, was humanity’s illusions about itself and its place in nature. George was renowned for mixing observational humor with larger social commentary on his life and times. He would poke fun at everyone and everything.
“The most educational channel on television is the comedy channel because it offers new perspectives on old ideas in memorable ways!” ~ Ken Pierce ~
Comedy is all about perspective
We are the only animal that laughs. But why do we laugh? We laugh because we are learning. Learning is intrinsically pleasurable to us. Comedy is all about novel perspectives and so novel learning. You and I, like all humans, are wired to notice any novelty around us because it could be a danger or threat to our survival. In the same way we take comfort in routine and familiarity because it implies safety and survival. Carlin’s contribution was his unique perspective. He would stand outside common, often emotionally laden, perceptions and offer other views which enabled us to learn and survive.
We intuitively seek novelty to ensure our survival!
These novel perspectives enable us to learn important information for our future. This sense of “newness” is what we like the most and is very pleasurable. That is why a child is usually curious about anything “new” to them. For example, I remember vividly my daughter Stephanie … age three on Christmas morning; tossing aside “another new doll” to play with its’ interesting wrapping paper.
A novel perspective on aging
Some of Carlin’s last work was on how human’s age.
We will get to that shortly, but first let’s consider some recent research on aging which will give us a new perspective. Discover Magazine reported a couple of years ago children born today can expect to live to be 150 years old. The National Geographic reported this year, a child born today can expect 120 years of life ahead of them.
Some possible implications…
This has some interesting implications. This means, if you are a parent, you may be the first generation of humans and indeed in your own family, who could hold your great, great, great grandchild. This also suggests your children will probably need to budget for more years of retirement than years of work. This also implies you and I will be around a lot longer to annoy our family and friends than we originally thought.
Aging: “Living. Process that begins at birth but is only popularly considered to start when one’s hair turns white – or, as it is always called, gray.” ~ Rhoda Koenig ~
People over 100 years old, centenarians, are the fastest growing age group in modern societies. Today, there are over 6,000 Canadian centenarians and 90,000 American centenarians. I remember when my financial advisor encouraged me to plan for 75 years of life. Then it went to 80 years; then 90 years. Today, if you have an astute financial planner, that person should be encouraging you to plan your finances for at least 100 years of life.
Another comedian named George … Burns
George Burns was another world famous comedian. This George lived to be 100 years of age. This George worked almost to the very end of his life. He wrote a book in the 1990’s; when he was in his 90’s, called, appropriately enough, Wisdom of the 90’s!
George Burns offered three recipes for aging and a long life.
First he said believe in yourself. He said no one else would anyway because they are too busy trying to learn to believe in themselves.
Second, he said, learn to love your work. George felt everyone’s work was important. If you do it you must already love it in some way anyway. So, he said, go find out why you love it and appreciate it.
Third, George said never retire! There is no retirement in nature, it is called death. He said your work gives you purpose and reason for your life, hold on to it, cherish it and you will be OK.
Back to George Carlin one last time!
The final ideas on aging go to George Carlin. He offered 11 perspectives on aging which I have edited slightly. They are priceless to me … but you form your own opinion:
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes your age, weight, height and IQ. Let others worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them’.
2. Keep only your inspired friends. The optimist and pessimist are overwhelmed by their illusions.
3. Keep yourself learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let your brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.
4. Appreciate the simple things like your spirit, your mind; your work, yourself, your wealth, your friends; your family and your health … they are all waiting to be valued!
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. Grief happens. Analyze it, honor it and move on. The only person, who is with you for your entire life, is yourself. So, be alive while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is people, objects, events, whatever. Your home is your refuge to rest, learn, heal and grow.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help now!
9. Take built trips instead of guilt trips. Use your guilt to motivate you to learn, build and grow to be the person you have to be … to be you!
10. Tell the people you love that you love them … at every opportunity.
11 Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the seconds that take your breath away.
“Maybe laughter is nature’s reward for learning to age!” ~ Ken Pierce ~
Check out the “Take Away Tool” below to discover how you have been viewing your future. Maybe it is time to update it!
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER are:
1. Humor is one of your most important learning tools.
2. Humor is all about you gaining a new perspective on something like aging.
3. Humor is nature’s reward for you learning to survive.
4. You will probably live much longer than you anticipate.
5. Centenarians are now fastest growing age group.
6. Comedians are really selling wisdom to you.
7. Laughter is nature’s incentive to learn important things about your survival.
YOUR TAKE AWAY TOOL:
“UNCOVERING YOUR PERSPECTIVES ON AGING!”
Here are the 7 questions which will help you uncover how you plan to age. Since you are probably living to be 100 years old…at least, read each question carefully and record your thoughts.
Question 1: How do you want your spirit to be by then?
Question 2: How do you want to think of yourself by then?
3: What do you want to be still doing daily by then?
Question 4: How will you support yourself by then?
Question 5: Who will be in your social life by then?
Question 6: Who will your family be by then?
Question 7: What will your health be like by then?
Look at the Benefits Your Future Offers ~
Ken Pierce can help and he guarantees results!