Friday, November 20, 2009

The Fountain of Youth

“Life is short, stay awake for it”

(Caribou Coffee cup)

Every November since 1937, my father has had a birthday. This year it will 72 years. Ever since I have known him, he has been an early riser. Dad was often the last one to bed in the evening and easily the first one up in the morning. His average rising time was/is around 4am. I don’t think he ever used an alarm clock either (or a pillow for that matter). This quality/genetic defect did not get passed on to me.

I would guess Dad’s average night consists of 5 hours of sleep. Most experts recommend that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep per day. Let’s be conservative and say that he has gained 2 hours every day since the age of 18. The numbers are staggering. 2,365,200 extra minutes; 39,420 extra hours; 1642.50 extra days; 234.64 extra weeks, 54.75 extra months, 4.5 extra years.

Rip Van Winkle he is not. Dad inadvertently found the fountain of youth. Many people try to add years to their life through exercise, diet, etc. If they do add years to their life, those years are tacked on to the end of their life. Dad’s method added years to the prime of his life, and who of us would not want that? It is the ideal fountain of youth, although the medical community does not endorse it.

Dad has not wasted that extra time either. He has used that time to compose music, write poetry, write high school curriculum on various subjects, and become an expert in the field of education. I have always wondered how he had the time to do everything he did, but now I know. His life is an inspiration to me.

So I will wish him a happy 72nd birthday knowing he has lived 76 years worth of life.

Maybe I will stop using a pillow as well.