JUDY WOODRUFF: New York Times reporter John Leland began following a group of men and women in 2015 who ranged in age from 87 to 92. What he learned shattered his expectations about aging and death, as he explains in his Humble Opinion.
JOHN LELAND, The New York Times: People are always telling us to live each day as if it's our last, but we don't really do it, and for two good reasons. The first is that, if you really thought today was your last day, you wouldn't pay the utility bill or save for retirement, and, before you know it, you're in the dark warming a can of beans over an open flame. And the second reason is that we don't like to think about death or dying, except as something that happens to other people. A few years ago, I met a man named John Sorensen, who taught me how to think about death, and it changed my outlook on life. He was 91, and he missed his partner of 60 years. And every time I visited him, he said he wanted to die. He wasn't depressed or even sad. In fact, talking about dying always got him in a good mood. Wanting to die, for John, was the best reason to live. And what I mean is this. He loved opera and he loved old movie musicals. And wanting to die meant acknowledging that this might be the last time he heard Jonas Kaufmann sing Wagner or watched Gene Kelly singing in the rain. This made each time more worthy of his attention. And the same went for visits with friends. It's a textbook economics of scarcity. His days weren't fleeting. They were saturated with pleasures of his own choosing. In our culture, we have come to think of death as a kind of failure of medicine or an affront to the self, rather than seeing mortality as built into all of our days, the first as much as the last. Viewing death this way, as unrelated to life or antithetical to it, does a disservice to the days we have, because we don't know how to value them. We enjoy a movie more knowing it's going to end in a couple hours. That ski run in the Swiss Alps, it's only fun because you know there's a bottom. The end of the run gives meaning to each curve on the way down, even when you're still near the top of the mountain. I have heard this acceptance of the end from most of the older people I have spent time with. But you don't have to wait until we're 91 to enjoy it. We should rethink what it means to live every day as if it's your last. The way I learned it from John, it means embracing that part of the end that exists in this moment, and then in the next. You don't have to quit your job or stop paying your utility bill. There's enough to live for in the things you're already doing. Each brush with a stranger, each moment with friends, each kiss or caress, there's a little bit of our mortality in all of them. But their ours for now. And that is reason to be happy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: John Leland with good advice for all of us.
1.save for 节省
He economized on food and clothing to save for his tuition.
2.built into 嵌入
If the TV was built into the ceiling, you could lie there while watching your favourite programme.
3.as much as 一样
I hate Lewis and his kind just as much as you do
4.live for 以…为生活目的
I live for the moment, day by day, not for the past.
朱蒂·伍德瑞夫：《纽约时报》记者约翰·利兰于2015年开始对一组年龄介于87到92岁之间的人进行追踪，其中包括男人和女人。他所了解到的衰老与死亡，打破了他的预想，他在Humble Opinion栏目中为我们讲述 。
约翰·利兰，《纽约时报》：人们总说，把每一天当做生命的最后一天来过，但我们并没有真的这样做，原因有二。第一个原因是，如果你真的认为今天是你的末日，你就不会付电费帐单，也不会为退休以后的日子进行储蓄了，在你知道以前，你正在黑暗中，用熊熊火焰烤着一罐豆子 。第二个原因是，我们不愿想起死亡或奄奄一息的状态，除非事不关己 。几年前，我遇到了一个名叫约翰·索伦森的人，他教会了我如何思考死亡，而这改变了我的人生观 。那年他91岁，60年前他痛失爱侣 。每次我去看他，他都说他想去死 。然而他全无抑郁之情，甚至没有悲伤之色 。事实上，谈起走向死亡，他总是心情很好 。想着死亡，对于约翰而言，是活着最好的理由 。我的意思是这样 。他喜欢歌剧，也爱老的电影音乐剧 。想着死亡意味着承认，这可能是最后一次，去听乔纳斯·考夫曼唱瓦格纳，或看吉恩·凯利在雨中放歌 。这让他每一次都更加专注投入 。探望朋友也是如此 。这是很稀缺的经济学教科书 。他的日子没有稍纵即逝 。他的日子全都饱含着他自己选择的乐趣 。在我们的文化中，我们已经把死亡看成是一种医学的失败，或者是一种自我侮辱 。而不是将死亡视为我们人生必不可少的环节，初日与末日没有分别 。用这种与生命无关或与之相对的方式来看待死亡，会伤害到我们所拥有的日子，因为我们不知道如何珍惜他们 。当我们看电影时，虽然知道几个小时后电影就会结束，但更会沉浸其中 。瑞士阿尔卑斯山的滑雪道，它很有趣，因为你知道它到底了 。滑雪结束，让每一条滑行曲线都有了意义，即便你仍徘徊在山顶附近 。我从大多数老人那里听到过他们对于死亡的接纳，他们都曾和我在一起相伴 。但你不必等到91岁才能享受生命 。我们应该重新思考每天生活的意义，就好像它是你生命中的最后一天 。我从约翰那里学到，这意味着拥抱走向死亡的每个瞬间，而后再拥抱下一刻 。你不必辞掉工作或拒付水电费账单 。你已经在做的事情中，有很多值得珍视 。与每一个陌生人的轻触，每一刻与朋友的相聚，每一个亲吻与爱抚，都是我们走向死亡的微小片段 。但我们能拥有当下 。这就是快乐的理由 。