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The Old Man

                               (Photo: iStock)

It was the first day of college.  I was very nervous as I have always been an introvert. Our Professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know each other and make some good friends.

I looked around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old man beaming up at me with a smile.

He said, “Hi beautiful. My name is Ramesh. I am eighty-five years old.” I was so delighted to see him. My enthusiasm led me to ask him, “Why are you in college at such a young age?” He laughed and replied, “I’m here to find a beautiful girl for me to get married and have kids.” Then I curiously asked him to answer me seriously as I really wanted to know what motivated him to join college at this age.

“I always dream of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” He told me. We became instant friends. We used to sit with each other in the class  and talk nonstop. His life seemed to me like a “time machine”. He shared his wisdom and experience with me. 

Over the course of the year, Ramesh became a campus icon. He was just like us, very cool. He was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Ramesh to speak at the farewell. I’ll never forget what he taught us. As he began to deliver his prepared speech, he dropped his three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed he leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry, I’m so jittery. I had whiskey and it’s killing me. I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed he cleared his throat and began, ”We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.”

You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-five years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-six.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding an opportunity in change. Have no regrets. He concluded his speech.

One week after graduation Ramesh died peacefully in his sleep. Many people attended his funeral in tribute to the wonderful man who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.


We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. 

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