Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Valuable Time of Maturity

I counted my years and discovered that I have
less time to live going forward than I have lived until now.

I have more past than future.
I feel like the boy who received a bowl of candies.
The first ones, he ate ungracious,
but when he realized there were only a few left,
he began to taste them deeply.

I do not have time to deal with mediocrity.
I do not want to be in meetings where parade inflamed egos.

I am bothered by the envious, who seek to discredit
the most able, to usurp their places,
coveting their seats, talent, achievements and luck.

I do not have time for endless conversations,
useless to discuss about the lives of others
who are not part of mine.

I do not have time to manage sensitivities of people
who despite their chronological age, are immature.

I cannot stand the result that generates
from those struggling for power.

People do not discuss content, only the labels.
My time has become scarce to discuss labels,
I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry
Not many candies in the bowl…

I want to live close to human people,
very human, who laugh of their own stumbles,
and away from those turned smug and overconfident
with their triumphs,
away from those filled with self-importance,
Who does not run away from their responsibilities ..
Who defends human dignity.
And who only want to walk on the side of truth
and honesty.
The essential is what makes
life worthwhile.

I want to surround myself with people,
who know how to touch the hearts of people ….
People to whom the hard knocks of life,
taught them to grow with softness in their soul.

Yes …. I am in a hurry … to live with intensity,
that only maturity can bring.
I intend not to waste any part of the goodies
I have left …
I'm sure they will be more exquisite,
than most of which so far I've eaten.

My goal is to arrive to the end satisfied and in peace
with my loved ones and my conscience.
I hope that your goal is the same,
because either way you will get there too .. “

Mario de Andrade
Brazilian poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian and critic, lived1893-1945

Although I would like to be firmly convinced, that all the wants, intentions, resentments, deliberations, judgments and realisations go for me too, I ask myself, where do we find the paragons of virtue we yearn to pass our time with towards the end of our life.. Shouldn’t we start with ourselves? It’s all very well to set up no-go-zones for others, exclude people who don’t come up to our exacting standards and consider others boring, mediocre, either overconfident or faintly dishonest. Of course, it would be nice if we could measure ourselves by these wonderful maxims, personally, I can’t quite see it happen. We could strive for perfection, reaching it is another matter. I only know that I have a very long way to go.

Someone brought this poem to my German Conversation group for distribution. At first I thought it worth sharing, then I felt slightly uncomfortable. It makes me feel that the poet has a very high opinion of himself which puts him firmly in the category of self-importance. Still, it is perfectly true that age brings indifference to how others see us and a certain urgency takes over where patience with the foibles of others once resided.

What do you think, am I too harsh?


  1. No, you are not too harsh. But I see the poet more as exasperated. He is shouting at everyone, "We don't have time for what is unimportant!" I hope he found peace.

  2. I am a bit younger at 48, but an old friend from my uni days and I were talking some months ago about how we've changed now that we've hit our peri-menopausal years. She told me that she now spends less time entertaining others whom she finds disagreeable. She said that in her 20s even the most sort of off-putting person would be given the benefit of doubt, and, consequently, her time. I don't think you're being too harsh. I suppose if I did, then I would have to look at myself in the same light.

  3. I understand him to say that we squander our younger years with inattention, mortality being something that applies only to others. By now we are realizing that our days are numbered and each one becomes more precious. I hope you are living and fully enjoying each of your days!

  4. I don't think you are being harsh at all. You ask a valid question and it would be nice to ask the poet for his response. I know that now that I'm older, my eyes are open wider and I'm more choosy as to how I want to spend the rest of my time, whatever that time will be. I'm not certain if that makes me have a high opinion of myself or I just want to make certain that I live and experience life all I can. I also hope that I bring something to the party as well. When I don't, I'd better stay home.

  5. Anyone who is 50 is in that same boat of having fewer years in their future than in their past. I am in that boat too and the poet makes a lot of sense to me. Each moment is precious and I don't want to waste any of it.

  6. I can see both points; the poet's wish not to "waste" any more time on talking to people and doing things he does not like, and the somewhat elitist self-important angle. Both are valid, and as so often, the secret lies probably in balancing them out. There is nothing wrong with spending time in meetings, even if there are some "paraders of inflated egos", as long as those meetings have a sensible outcome - and if we participate in such meetings, it is also up to us to make them successful. This applies to work and leisure likewise. That's just one example I have picked out of the many the poet gives.
    As for the candy bowl, well, mine still seems relatively full, but I do try to savour each one nonetheless.

  7. You are thinking like anyone your age, including me, thinks. While I will happily lambast the youth of now, I do understand that they are far from the age of grumpy old men and women. While I am happily mature, I don't expect respect from young people. Hey, we did mess up rather a lot.

  8. We have become so centred on getting through each day that we are missing the chance to turn acquaintances into friends...something I regret.

  9. if he dismisses everyone he writes about I imagine there wouldn't be anyone left for him to be around. we are all human after all. although I find I have less patience for certain types of people at this point in my life.

  10. I have always been athletic … natural wonder my gym teacher used to say … now July 21, 2018 I fell hard and broke my knee cap bad … Have never been the same since, … my strength is gone, my confidence is gone … Much love, friend Friko … cat.

  11. I agree with you both, in an odd way. I think he has the right concept in that we often add too much of the trivial to our lives when there is so little time left in the big scheme of things. But on the other hand, sometimes that trivial can be a lot of fun, give us joy, make us laugh and that's far more important. And in terms of being a little over the top, a little rigid, a little too uppity on himself. And if he can continue to have a rich life with those rules, more power to him. I couldn't. I don't think most of us can and I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Too harsh? No. Not from my point of view.

  12. I was just thinking of something like this today, after a message from a friend about spending holiday time with family members who have terrible political views. It is not stopping her from going, as she wants to spend time with her her nieces and nephews; she just noted it as a difficulty. As I reflected on her conundrum, I thought how I am these days completely out of patience with wasting time on people I find insufferable, whether rightly or wrongly. It’s not always clear-cut, however, and from time to time, the sands shift. I remember a time of being completely exasperated with an acquaintance. Then one day, I was enabled somehow to see her in a totally new light, as a result of which she no longer exasperates me at all. I would certainly find it hard to judge people in as many ways the poet lays out. Who would be left? (Not to mention that I somehow suspect I wouldn’t make his cut.)

  13. I accept that we do not want to waste our time with shallow or self-important people as we reach our end years. But I also avoided people that depleted me when I was younger or working. Now I try to understand why some are the way they are. Sometimes a short-tempered anger or lack of patience has been with friends that had an ill spouse or lost a loved one. I try to be more understanding.

  14. I think maybe I shared this with you earlier -- it's from a comment I left on someone's blog. Once I looked at it again, I thought: that's it. That's the guideline for the rest of my life, right there:

    " I’m down to about twenty years now, give or take, and getting in shape, preserving the good health I have, and not wasting time on the stupid, the boring, or the irrelevant is right up there on top of my list. If I manage to avoid stupid, boring, and irrelevant, I’ll have plenty of time for what’s important."

    It's not really a matter of judging others. It's a matter of accepting what satisfies me, and not judging myself by others' standards. For example, I choose to stay off social media, live without a tv, and continue on with my flip phone. Does that affect my life? Certainly -- but the affects are wholly positive. While others are obsessing over the latest bit of idiocy to compel attention, I'm reading a book, or taking my camera out into the great outdoors, or even working.

    Because I'm not a joiner, and don't work at "staying connected," I'm a little more solitary than most would be comfortable with. But I'm happy -- can't complain about that.

  15. Perhaps not too harsh. However, his words all sound like ideals — reality suggests to me sometimes a need to settle for less in some of those areas might likely occur.

  16. You make a very good point about exacting standards for others. And maybe there are people who would benefit from time with you and it would be an unkindness to exclude them?

  17. Dear Friko, you asked what we thought and my thoughts are mixed and varied. First and foremost, I believe that everyone carries deep within themselves the burden of living with foibles and fissures and deep pain. Seldom do we really see that burden. We see the smiling face and hear the simple words that seem to say little. But if only we could really see the essence of each person we meet, we would, I believe, take off our sandals, as Moses did before the burning bush and bow down before the goodness that is threaded into all life. Peace.

  18. We are so busy we don't take enough time for those around us. We wait too long to know them...then they are are we.

  19. he sounds a bit bitter and self centered...but I can identify with some of what he says...I get tired of the trivial also:)

  20. I counted my years and discovered that I have
    less time to live going forward than I have lived until now.
    that says it quite well; keeps us on our toes.

  21. Hi Friko - I too don't think you're being too harsh - and we should be able to say 'no' ... and I'm sure most of us here would say, a gentle no ... yet be encouraging while we said 'no - thank you'. To give is better than to receive but equally we'd rather be comfortable with what we're doing and who we're with ...

    We don't have long and so must cherish our time left - however we each decide to spend it - without upsetting others, or hurting them ... not always easy. You give us wise words to consider ... and of course we all think we have the right idea so hence our own self-importance ... but others will not agree, and we need to adjust. I express my opinions far too easily - and must learn to desist ... thanks for the reminder as I take myself forward in these latter years of life ... as you mention - let us get there and be at peace as we travel this journey of life - cheers Hilary

  22. I think I've always felt this way . . . but still I hesitate to exclude any others from my life just because they're mediocre -- whatever that may mean. A convocation of superior beings might be a bit like Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged -- a scary thought,

  23. I read and reread your poet’s words. I agree with some but not all of them. After years of stress because of my husband’s illness I just want to pause and breathe. Like the poet I don’t want endless conversations with immature people. But I do try to manage the sensitivities of people I know, because not to do so would be cruel in a way and would give me not pleasure in hurting them. He says he wants to live close to human being – I don’t at this time. I have been with one human being 24/7 non-stop and I need peace to reflect on the past years and on my future years. One thing about aging is that I don’t pay as much importance on politics – every time Mr. Trump comes on the tele I find deep pleasure in clicking on “mute.” It makes me feel strong to stop his talking, and I am content with that. Right now I find It difficult to look for happiness after a deep loss. By the way, I had to laugh at the Arabic comment you let on your post – it is an ad about termite and pest control – maybe just a propos?

  24. I've just been catching up after yet another fairly lengthy hiatus.

    It strikes me that whatever life throws at you, Friko, you always manage to relate it with grace and humour and good sense.

    I read your piece about your damaged sacrum with interest and sympathy. It's hard to forego one's independence, particularly when it's forced upon one. I'm glad for you that you are improving - make haste slowly.

    When I am feeling 'invisible' or bemoaning my aching hip/knee I remind myself of my daughter's young friend (42), mother of two small boys of 6 and 3, who is facing the imminent end of her life through the dreadful, incurable Motor Neurone Disease and thank Providence for my health and strength. She is stoical and I admire her so much.

    'Never resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.' (Anon)

  25. You are my role model! [age 65]

  26. Not too harsh at all, but too absent. I hope to see another post from you here before long. Best wishes.


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