What’s the opposite of a grumpy, curmudgeonly old man? My father was that. I don’t know how he did that but he preserved a child-like freshness of perception until the day he died. You know how a small kid sees a beautiful flower she’s never seen before and lights up? It’s super cute to watch, especially since as adults we grow jaded, and nothing evokes that pure joy.
I received a message from a friend who mety father a couple of times, and she says she was struck by how often he said things like, “this was a magical experience” or “what a phenomenal thing / person / book, etc.”
He was a person who always stayed at the best hotels, ate at best restaurants, and went on the best trips not because they were expensive or anything like that but because he perceived them as amazing. This wasn’t for the purposes of narcissistic boasting but for internal consumption. That’s how he felt things, and as a result, he lived a very happy life.
One of the things he perceived as absolutely flawless was me. If I said I had an article returned for changes, he sincerely couldn’t comprehend it. Everything I wrote or did was perfect by default, and if there were people incapable of seeing that, we had to feel sorry for them.
I asked my father many times how he managed to preserve such an enthusiastic, happy relationship with the world. But he didn’t understand the question. He thought it was normal.