Today is my birthday. Well, not really. I wasn’t born today. But it is a day of re-birth, a second childhood, if you will. I received word today that the melanoma I was diagnosed with has been caught in time, and that I am “clean.” Instead of a farewell tour, I’ve apparently got several laps left in me to be nettlesome, cantankerous, and overbearing.
So how shall I spend my second childhood? (I mean, besides the nettlesome thing.)
I queried Google. It directed me to oldcurmudgeon.com. I should have used Yahoo.
In dejection, I meandered the internet. Eventually, I found the following quote by Elie Wiesel, the Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor—a man of many second childhoods.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. The opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
The world offers much to be indifferent about—violence, hatred, bias, discrimination, lies and death. At 68 it would be easy to snuggle up to that indifference by just working my garden, taking out the trash and muttering platitudes at my neighbors.
But I am not 68. This is my second childhood.
What shall I be? What shall I do?
Awash with an infinity of choices, I know one thing: I vow not to be indifferent. I vow to give all of my love, art, faith, and above all, life to this world, and to embrace all of the love, art, faith, and life that others give as well.
Yes, I’ve got it now. I vow to be the opposite of indifferent.
I vow to be—different.