In Chapter 15, Who Has the Helm, the main character learns about the childish tactics that persist into adulthood and sometimes take control of our actions. His wife also shares the counterintuitive response that takes away their power over us.
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Video Transcript by Machine for the sake of the search engines:
hello today is my birthday and of course that’s not unexpected it’s done scheduled it’s known it’s been coming for quite a while and last few weeks I’ve certainly thought about it more than once the implications of reaching this advanced age and I’ll admit my attitude toward it was pretty well reflected by the change in the seasons as the day is that shorter darker damper the leaves turned and fell from the trees I was thinking about maybe I should move into sort of an elder role back off from some goals not expect quite so much out of life and just turn into an old man but I happened to hear an interview with the actor Michael Caine and he mentioned that at his 62nd birthday which is the age on that right now he’s seriously considered giving up his acting career because he wasn’t getting the roles as the romantic lead anymore they wanted him to be the secondary character actor and he didn’t want to do that but his good friend Jack Nicholson talked him into taking one of those roles and now that he’s 85 years old he has continued to make a movie or three every year including what Michael Caine considers some of his best work more important closer to home my good friend Ralph Lee Smith who was a great musician and the world’s foremost expert on dulcimers he was in Greenwich Village you know with the Beat Generation and got to know Bob Dylan and Joan Baez he had his 92nd birthday this week 92 he’s 30 years older than I am 30 years that’s a lot of life in the past 30 years I I met married and raised three fine adults with my beloved wife Christine it may be just as many more adventures successes disappointments ideas I mean who knows what’s gonna happen in the next 30 years maybe I’ll get those and you know maybe I won’t maybe I’ve just got today like everyone we’ve only got today a long string of “nows” now to appreciate where we are what we’ve got and what might be next to anticipate contemplate and that’s what happens on my birthday when I get a greeting from a good friend like you who reminds me that I matter to other people and that those other people matter so much to me so your birthday greeting makes a big difference to me thanks for reaching out and reminding me that what really matters is our impact on other people and the impact of other people on us I appreciate you and thanks for reminding me of how much you appreciate me happy birthday to us all so long
I have never heard in a funeral that this person made a lot of money or is politically very strong. They never discuss that. In a funeral, people discuss how this person was kind or gracious or had character and integrity. … I learned from the funerals that we must plan our funerals when we are young. Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.
I desire to leave this world as I entered it — barefoot and broke. To many, that may seem like an odd, unrealistic, even foolish thing. Not to me. Too many wealthy people hoard their riches, believing that dying with a large bank account is a virtue. I read about one woman who died and left her dog $10 million. What’s a dog going to do with that kind of money? Help other dogs? I see it another way: If I die with nothing because I have given it away, humanity is the beneficiary.