How to age gracefully, A tribute to Paul Newman
We don’t mature when we are legally old enough to drive, drink or vote, as most of us do all these things very casually and immaturely ...
Paul Newman passed away on 26 September 28, 2008. I wanted to write about Newman but I probably don’t know enough about him to do so. The second best I can do is to ask myself what I have learned from this great life. Here’s my penny’s worth.
Most of us actually take longer time to grow than we actually realize. We don’t mature when the pubic hair starts to show, certainly not when the first wet dream (or first period) startles us and leaves us thinking hard about what to do with the soiled pajama. We don’t mature when we are legally old enough to drive, drink or vote, as most of us do all these things very casually and immaturely for a long, long time before we start handling these like a man (or woman). Unfortunate, but true, that a lot of us are still not behaving maturely even after we get married, have children or rise to a certain socio-economic status. When we look at the lives of showbiz celebrities, we can see the recurrent theme. You either mature or you fall in disgrace. Some had the good fortune to fall in disgrace and then mature and make a comeback. The show business is a business about making private lives public. It showcases real life examples of life, if we care to learn, besides getting entertained and involved with the gossips.
Newman made his fair share of mistakes. He was drinking, chain smoking, fast driving and failing his marriage. He also admitted to have spent less time and effort than he wished with his children from his first marriage. Unlike many of us, he learned fast. He kept improving. The accidental overdose of Scott Newman, his first-born child, in 1978, could have devastated him and ended his happy days. Instead, Paul quickly bounced back to his feet and started the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention in memory of his son. His philanthropic endeavors continued in the form of Newman’s Own, the food line which has donated over $200 millions to various charities since 1982, a $250,000 donation to aide refugees in Kosovo and a $10 million donation to Kenyon College. Paul Newman was also one of the founders of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), a membership organization of CEOs and corporate chairpersons committed to raising the level and quality of global corporate philanthropy.
Yes, I still remember the bright blue eyes and the brilliant acting in The Sting, The Towering Inferno and The Verdict. I also admire his vibrant energy in political activism which landed him the 19th on Richard Nixon’s enemies list. What I see behind all these achievements and actions is a man’s effort to grow and help his fellow human beings. If he had only directed his efforts to pleasure seeking and fixing his own troubles, he would still be missed by his fans. Having taken a different route, he had touched and helped even more lives. Here I write and stand, paying tribute to a man who has showed us that aging can be graceful and a life can be a celebration, even to someone from a different generation and culture.
Paul Newman, you’ll be deeply missed.