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More Second Acts

July 4, 2010

In his Second-Act Aces essay, Tim Egan, who lives in Seattle, spotlights Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer, who is painting the plate like Leonardo at the age of 47, arguably more the master of his craft than he was when he was 27 or 37. Consider, as well, John Huston, who directed The Dead at the age of 80 and Norman Maclean, who published A River Runs Through It at 74.

My own father, Alvin Schwartz, labored for 20 years in obscurity as an author of books for children until 1981, when at the age of 54, he published Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In the next ten years, he published two more volumes of Scary Stories, which sold millions of copies and which achieved notoriety as the most-banned and challenged books in the United States through the decade of the 1990s (and 7th-most between 2000 and 2009) for their themes of violence, satanism, and the occult.

What is the light in the darkness of aging? Data shows older people are actually happier than the young. And there is a lot to be said for the idea that the knowledge, wisdom, strength, perspective, and patience that age imparts can contribute not only to a settled happiness, but to artistic, performance, and business success.

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