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Yesterday, in Epigrams about Health, I wrote, “To maximize a long, happy, healthy life, learn how to be happy and healthy when young.” That seems like a sensible bit of advice, and most people would probably claim they are following the path. They would claim they rarely do anything that would imperil their health or sanity, and yet when I listen to older people talking about their lives, which I do quite often, they often mention the risky things they did when young. Usually, these stories are told within a setting of mild hilarity and are accompanied with statements that they wouldn’t do that again. And yet, when they tell their current problems as anecdotes they seem to be following the same general life strategy. They talk about the problem people they encountered as youths and then talk about the problems they are having with the people they now associate with.

I see a pattern in their actions when they were young being repeated in their old age, but it appears they don’t see it. What can I say? What can I say that would be heard by them? More importantly, what can I say that younger people would hear and act upon?

Find and interact with happy old people and avoid angry old drunks.