Think of it this way . . .           

For me, to be self-controlled is simply managing the will to be well-mannered and friendly. It’s just a common-sense approach to life, maintaining a certain mastery over one’s emotions and reflexive urges, which invariably show up suddenly and without warning. And common sense is the ability to see things in proper perspective, using good judgement and making a studied, safe response.

We should mentally practice rehearsing ahead of time and remember what Benjamin Franklin said: to “not only say the right thing in the right place at the most opportune time; but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the most tempting moment.” For example, a recent study which found that women who carry a little extra weight live at least ten minutes longer than men who mention it! Self-control could save your life.

Living this long has allowed me to almost fulfill some life-long goals. For one thing, after striving to contain and subdue certain urges all this time, I’m finding it a lot easier to practice self-control. Joey Adams explains it this way: “Don’t worry about avoiding temptation as you grow older; it will avoid you.” Another thing I’ve just about achieved, after this much time, is to become a hermit. It certainly hasn’t happened the way I had imagined. Author Percy M. Hansen explains how this comes about:

“It’s obvious that the person who reaches 70 will have lost at least Half of his former associates by death, whether he has spent his life in one community or not.”

Since I’m 80, I guess that means I’ve lost well over half of my neighbors; so it won’t be too long before I’m a full-fledged recluse by default (with a whole different kind of self-control issues).

You young whipper-snappers should remember what Fred Astaire said: “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young;” and Mark Twain, who said, “Age is an issue of mind-over-matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

-John D.

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