6 Reasons to Grow Old

According to Joshua O. Haberman, rabbi emeritus of Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C. who is 90, “there’s a shady side and a sunny side,” said He was talking about old age.

Not every 90-year-old enjoys the good health and vigor of the rabbi, who still teaches and writes. But it’s good to remember, with more than 1.5 million Americans having passed this once rare milestone, that extreme longevity has its compensations including these.

Tranquility . The important battles have been waged, the decisions made. “You no longer have to do the pushing, the striving, the struggle.”

The Cooling Of Passion. “You don’t rush to quick action,” Rabbi Haberman explained. “You’re more likely to stop and think.”.

The Art Of Submission. Americans are activists by nature, but “more happens to us than we cause to happen. “You have to accept the unalterable.”

Liberation From The Compulsion To Set Everyone Else Straight. He has loosened up. The rabbi confessed, he’s increasingly apt to consider the possibility he’s wrong, a gift of old age.

One of the Most Important Marks Of Maturity -- Gratitude. “I’m more conscious of the little favors people do — the driver who stops and lets me cross the street, the newspaper man who brings my paper directly to the door,” He feels more aware of humanity’s interconnectedness. “I am a zero by myself.”

Greater Involvement With Family, including his wife of nearly 65 years, four children, 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Each night before bed, he recites in Hebrew lines from the hymn “Adon Olam,” based a passage from Psalm 31: “In God’s hand I entrust my spirit, when asleep and when awake/My body and spirit, God is with me, I shall not fear.”

For more go to: nytimes.com

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