An 80-Year-Old’s Life Philosophy

So today an 80-year-old Algerian man sat our table for the Kiddush lunch after synagogue services. 


And he talked quite a bit about his life philosophy and told me I was a good listener. ūüôā


1) TRUE LOVE IS LIKE AN ORANGE:

A man and women that are meant to be together are like two sides of an orange.¬† With his hands, he showed us putting the two sides together, twisting, and he goes, “You see it just clicks!”


2) WHEN LOVE IS NOT TRUE ITS LIKE TWO BIRDS IN A CAGE:

When a man and woman are not soulmates, maybe they just are meant to be together for a time to have children or make a home temporarily. But then, the birds need to leave the cage, and be free!


3) BURIED TOGETHER:

“When people are soulmates, they are buried together, next to each other. Otherwise, one is buried in Greece and the other in Hawaii, and it makes no difference because they are going their own ways in Heaven.”


4) 80 HERE AND 20 HERE

He pointed to his belly and said, “I’m 80 here.” And then pointed to his groin area, and said, “But I’m 20 here!”


5) WOMEN ONLY UNDER 40:

While he is 80, he claims to be robust in the bedroom, and “will never be with a woman over 40…not a day over!”¬† He said, “It’s like an old Cadillac!” Moreover, he said, if a woman is “not perfect” and has a scar like from having her appendix out, “forget it!”


6) WRITING, PLAYING GUITAR, AND DANCING:

He said, “I like to write, play¬†guitar and dance.” And with his arms, he makes some swoops like he is on the dance floor having a good time.¬†


7) PEOPLE ARE LIKE CANDLES:

People are like candles.  The body is like the wax that burns down, but the soul is the flame that always rises up.  In the end, the soul ascends to heaven just like the flame. 


8) INFINITELY STUPID:

He pointed to the yarmulke on top of his head and said:¬† “You know what that means?¬† This means that there is¬†no¬†limit to how stupid some people can be!”¬†¬†


8) YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK:

I asked what he did for a living, and he said “Real estate, Jewelry, and even fashion salons.”¬† I said, “Wow, you’re very fortunate!”¬† He said, “No, in life, you make your own luck!”


10) RESPECT ME IF YOU WANT:

“You respect me, and I respect you. But frankly, I don’t care if you respect me or not. You can do what you want, and so will I!” I said, “Ok, see you next week and we’ll talk again.”¬† He said, “Maybe I will or maybe I won’t talk to you ever again.”


Like his philosophy or not, I never saw an 80-year-old with so much energy, life, and personality. Honestly, there are a lot of people half his age, who act more dead than alive. It was incredible to see this ageless person and hear what that’s like. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal 

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Be Strong!

Just a saying about inner strength that I liked:

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression…

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 


When people feel anxious and that they don’t have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety “has no where to go,” it becomes depression.¬†


I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can’t really do anything to make things better–and no matter how hard you try–then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed


Perhaps it’s almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change.¬†


That is why a person’s feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important.¬†


When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  


Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 


But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 


Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 


I’m pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you “did everything you could” so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world.¬†


Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 


Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 


But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 


So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 


Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 


If everyone–7.6 billion of us out there—does their part that can make a difference.¬†


Don’t let life’s anxieties become your depression.


Look for what you can contribute–do it!–try your best to make a difference and make the world better.


It’s what you’re here for and what you can positively do.¬† ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys–thank you G-d!


Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 


Yes, of course we wouldn’t recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn’t have the bad to compare it to.¬†


But just when you think you’ve gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it’s time for the next speed bump.


I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 


Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 


Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  


But even daily upsets can be frustrating.


I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 


It’s not paradise we are living in–that comes later when we get our angel wings!


This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 


We are not here just to have a merry ‘ol good time day in and day out.¬†


While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 


Life is like a puzzle–a very big puzzle–and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.¬† ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?


Some people seem to get old before their time.


They go about¬†echting¬†and¬†kretzching–at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!¬†¬†Nu, I’m not 18 anymore!


Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.


One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  


This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:

“I thought growing old would take longer.”


Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!


I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 


I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 


Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago–can’t believe the things I used to be able to do–Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!


But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!


Maybe we do not get old…maybe we are just like caterpillars¬†that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond.¬†


Age is experience, learning, growth–lots of mistakes–and then recovering and trying again and harder.¬†¬†


Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 


No, life does not get old. 


Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 


But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 


It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 


I think there is a lot to this topic…


Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it’s decision time.¬†¬†


Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 


Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.


Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good–more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial “wine, women, and song”¬†or¬†do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?¬†¬†


It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 


Are we being selfish or selfless?


Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us–even too much giving and selflessness–we need to care for ourselves too–we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live.¬†


But you can’t be a glutton or a slave to your impulses–you can’t take and not give, your can’t indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.


Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.


Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 


If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

An Arrogant Model Who Defiles The Holy Temple

Please see my new article, Naked Before G-d, in The Times of Israel. 

“In such a G-dly¬†place [as the Kotel], where we are all spiritually naked for our actions before our Maker, [Belgian model,] Ms. Papen displayed not¬†soul, but her haughty¬†flesh.”


And like the Sotah in the bible, who drinks of “the bitter waters” for defiling the sanctity of her marriage, Ms. Papen will most certainly come to see the consequences for her defilement of the most sacred place of Judaism.¬†


I wouldn’t want to be her, seriously! ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)