Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart – Dr. Livingston, I presume?!

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by the late Gordon Livingston, M.D. is a tiny book to be filled with so much punch. But punch, it does! In my case, right in the nose!

Take this quote for example:

“If the map doesn’t agree with the ground the map is wrong” ― Gordon Livingston

It’s the chapter title for the very first chapter and I could have stopped there and called it a day. For someone like me – a rule follower and right and wrong appreciator – it turns everything I believe on its head.

I had to read that thing three times! Seriously!

My immediate thought: But someone made the map and it must have been that way or they’d never have published it!

Yeah… about that…

So what?

So what, indeed!

Here are the chapter headings = “things you need to know” followed by my thoughts on each.

  1. If the map doesn’t agree with the ground, the map is wrong. You already know my thoughts on this one. 🙂
  2. We are what we do. Yep!
  3. It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place. Well now, that’s interesting!
  4. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. I want to believe this! It makes perfect sense to me. However, if someone hasn’t done the work to get beyond it, I know for a fact it still affects them. Right?
  5. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. Holy fuck, people! You know I’m not one to throw the eff word around haphazardly so this must be important!
  6. Feelings follow behavior. Okay, yeah, if you say so. For me, the feelings come first. Is that because I’m an empath? Maybe. Maybe not.
  7. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. Totally agree!
  8. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Yes! My nemesis, perfection!
  9. Life’s two most important questions are “Why?” and “Why not?” The trick is knowing which one to ask. Ah, well now. I have not gotten this trick down, clearly.
  10. Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. Um. What? Let me try to wrap my head around this one. *breathe* Remember what the book said, Sher… and now I understand. For example, I am very organized at work. So much so that when someone dares to put something… say… in the wrong place… my day stops until it’s made right. (Right now, my husband is thinking of all the times I do it at home, like with the whisk or a steak knife put in the wrong slot on the butcher block!)
  11. The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves. Yep.
  12. The problems of the elderly are frequently serious but seldom interesting. Sadly, this also makes a lot of sense.
  13. Happiness is the ultimate risk. Having moved 4000 miles from everything that mattered to me to be with the man I love… yeah, I might have a wee understanding of why this is so!
  14. True love is the apple of Eden. Ah, chemistry. It’s the only reason I married my first husband only weeks after I’d met him. Was he a good man, a potentially good husband or father? Who knew? Who cared. I wanted him! Is this what Livingston means? I read the chapter twice and still don’t know!
  15. Only bad things happen quickly. I guess it can feel that way because a bad thing often becomes a “before and after” type moment. And those happen quickly – or at least, feel like that: birth, death, an “Ah ha!” moment…
  16. Not all who wander are lost. Love, love, love this!
  17. Unrequited love is painful but not romantic. Longing for what we cannot have, eh? Interesting! Livingston mentions celebrities… what am I? Fifteen? But you know, I have had a girl crush on Jennifer Aniston for about as long as I can remember. I just love her! <<< And there you go. Okay, got it!
  18. There is nothing more pointless, or common, than doing the same things and expecting different results. We’ve all heard this by now and know it is truth!
  19. We flee from the truth in vain. Huh. Interesting. Do I believe it? No.
  20. It’s a poor idea to lie to oneself. Well, duh. How did this get on the list?
  21. We are all prone to the myth of the perfect stranger. Yep. The grass is greener and all that jazz.
  22. Love is never lost, not even in death. Amen!
  23. Nobody likes to be told what to do. Also, duh. But you know, we didn’t really discuss this en masse until recently. It’s so obvious.
  24. The major advantage of illness is that it provides relief from responsibility. Oh my GOD, this is sooooo true! Secondly, so what?
  25. We are afraid of the wrong things. Often, yes.
  26. Parents have a limited ability to shape children’s behavior, except for the worse. Really, Dr. Livingston? Really?
  27. The only real paradises are those we have lost. I have to put my foot down here. Not true! Yes, we like to romanticize the past… but… we can find paradise in the present or future. I know it!IMG_4075
  28. Of all the forms of courage, the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeutic. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Ha! For example, I shared this meme today and I’m still laughing at it. If you saw my face right now you’d totally understand. It’s round and pale and my hair is very short – yeah, I cut it all off into a pixie – no, I didn’t cut it, a stylist did. You know what I mean. Also, I have brown eyes and… and… well, she looks like me! It’s self-effacing humor. “Effacing”… that’s a pun, kids. Hahaha!
  29. Mental health requires freedom of choice. Yes, a million times yes! As a person with depression and anxiety (along with a few other difficulties) I can say that the absence of choice – or even the PERCEIVED absence of choice – can chew you up and throw you in a pit faster than almost anything else!
  30. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. Yep. Not the same thing AT ALL.

So, there we are. You have a good idea of what’s offered in this book, which is all these chapters with the author’s thoughts… and I have to say, it’s an easy, breezy read for the most part. It’s the kind of book you might put in your purse, or the car, or next to the bed, to be picked up and read at any point (of your life or the book!)

I like it. I like HIM. And just because I like the man, I’m sharing a video so you can put a face to the name… and it’s an excellent video! You may want to watch it… just cuz:

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