From Aline Pinxteren, Publisher & Interim Editor-in-Chief
It’s 8:15 on a momentous morning: I’m finally going back to the office after two years of working from home. The synapses in my brain aren’t all firing when I get into Josué’s taxi, but when he starts asking me all kinds of questions, I answer as best I can. While my chatting skills have clearly gone out the window thanks to our forced COVID solitude, my very friendly driver is in top form. (He’s already had his coffee!)
After asking me where I work, what I do, and what the magazine is about as well as who it’s for, where you can get it, whether it’s a hit, and what topics it covers, he asks me a tricky one: What’s the best financial advice? Perhaps, I suggest, start saving as early as possible for the last third of your life so you can enjoy it fully. Taking my answer a step further, Josué suggests that all we should do until the age of 30 is make money: no friends, romantic relationships, children, travel, or restaurants— just work hard and then return to the real world once the coffers are full.
I hear him, but how many want to start a family when they’re pushing 40 and then have to pay for their kids’ education just as their own working life is coming to an end? We discuss this, and Josué agrees. He says he’s always telling his older sister— who regrets the dreams she gave up on over the years and believes they’re no longer within reach— “Life begins at 50; it’s never too late to go for it!” As for him, there’s no doubt: he sees himself still playing onstage with his band of amateur musicians when he’s 90.
Our conversation stays with me all day. As if to echo Josué’s words, a comment by the contemporary philosopher Fabrice Midal in an interview jumps out at me the next day: “You have to complain every day but for no more than 20 minutes; otherwise you’ll suffocate. Then, when a spark appears, you have to follow it. And life becomes exciting again.” Midal’s observation in turn reminds me of the inspiring story of Fumie Takino, a Japanese great-grandmother who began studying gerontology in her 50s after staying home to raise her family. When she was 63, she founded a cheerleading squad, Japan Pom Pom, bringing together a small group of friends who were tired of being depressed about the passing of time. More than 25 years later, she and her squad of seniors are still performing in front of appreciative crowds.
As I write, we are finally in the green zone, with no restrictions or COVID-19 measures in place— and it’s almost summer! The time has come to listen to your heart and try something new if it’s calling your name, whether it’s decor, work, fashion, sports, reading—or even cheerleading!
Let’s savour our return to freedom. As Josué says, “Everything is possible, all the time.”
Photo by Clay LeConey on Unsplash