I was 45 years old when I decided to learn how to surf.
They say that life tough enough.
But I guess I like to make things difficult on myself, because I do that all the time.
Every day and on purpose.
That's because I believe in drupting my comfort zone.
When I started out in the entertainment business, I made a lt of people that I thought would be good to me.
Not people who could give me a job or a deal, but people who could shake me up, teach me something, challenge my ideas about myself and the world.
So I started calling up experts in all kinds of fields.
Some of them were world-famous.
Of course, I didn't know any of these people and none of them knew me.
So when I called these people up to ask them for a meeting, the response wasn't always friendly.
And even when they agreed to give me some of their time,the results weren't always what one might describe as pleasant.
Take, for example, Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb.
It took me a year of begging and more begging to get to him to agree to meet with me.
And then what happened? He ridiculed me and insulted me.
But that was okay.
I was hoping to learn something from him—and I did,even if it was only that I'm not that interesting to a physict with no taste for our pop culture.
Over the last 30 years, I've produced more than 50 movies and 20 televion series.
I'm successful and, in my business, pretty well known.
So why do continue to subject myself to th sort of thing?
The answer simple:
Drupting my comfort zone, bombarding myself with challenging people and situations—th the best way that I know to keep growing.
And to paraphrase a biologt I once met,if you're not growing, you're dying.
So maybe I'm not the best surfer on the north shore, but that's okay.
The dcomfort, the uncertainty, the physical and mental challenge that I get from th—all the things that too many of us spend our time and energy trying to avoid—they are precely the things that keep me in the game.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.
Their chief use for delight, in privateness and retiring;for ornament, in dcourse;and for ability, in the judgement and dposition of business.
For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one;but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs,come best from those that are learned.
To spend too much time in studies sloth;to use them too much for ornament, affectation;to make judgement wholly by their rules, the humour of a scholar.
They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience:for natural abilities are like natural plants,that need pruning by study;and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large,except they be bounded in by experience.
Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and we men use them;for they teach not their own use;but that a wdom without them, and above them, won by observation.
Read not to contradict and confute;nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and dcourse;but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,and some few to be chewed and digested;that , some books are to be read only in parts;others to be read, but not curiously;and some few to be read wholly,and with diligence and attention.
Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others;but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books;else dtilled books are, like common dtilled waters, flashy things.
Reading makes a full man； conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.
And therefore,if a man write little，he had need have a great memory;if he confer little, he had need have a present wit;and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he does not.
Htories make men we; poets witty; the mathematics subtle;natural philosophy deep; moral grave;logic and rhetoric able to contend.
At age 89, Mary Fasano graduated with a bachelor s degree from the Extension School last week and entered the htory books as the oldest person to earn an undergraduate degree at Harvard. Following the speech she delivered -- "The Power of Knowledge" -- at the Extension School diploma awarding ceremony:
I remember one night a few years ago when my daughter was frantic with worry. After my Harvard Extension School classes, I usually arrived at the bus station near my home by 11 p.m., but on that night I was nowhere to be found. My daughter was nervous. It wasn t safe for a single woman to walk alone on the streets at night, especially one as defenseless as I am: I can slay a mugger with my sharp wit, but I m just too short to do any real physical damage.
That night my daughter checked the bus station, drove around the streets, and contacted some friends. But she couldn t find me -- until she called my astronomy professor who told her that I was on top of the Science Center using the telescope to gaze at the stars. Unaware of the time, I had gotten lost in the heavens and was only thinking about the new things I had learned that night in class.
Th story illustrates a habit I have developed over the years: I lose track of the time when it comes to learning. How else do you explain a woman who began high school at age 71 and who graduating with a bachelor s degree at 89? I may have started late, but I will continue to learn as long as I am able because there no greater feeling, in my opinion, than traveling to a faraway country as I have and being able to identify by sight the painting of a famous artt, the statue of an obscure sculptor, the cathedral of an ancient architect. I have found that the world a final exam that you can never be prepared enough for. So I will continue to take classes and tell my story.
Lately it seems that everyone asking me, "Mary, what advice do you have for other students?" So while I have you all here, I m going to ease my burden of answering you each individually:
If the saying true that wdom comes with age, you may safely assume that I am one of the west people in th hall and possibly at th university today. So lten to me when I tell you th: Knowledge power.
My studies were interrupted when I was in the 7th grade, back sometime around World War I. I loved school but I was forced to leave it to care for my family. I was consigned to work in a Rhode Island cotton mill, where I labored for many years. I eventually married and raed 5 children, 20 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. But all the while I felt inferior to those around me. I knew I was as smart as a college graduate. I knew I was capable of doing a job well -- I had proved it by running a successful family business for decades that still exts. But I wanted more. I wanted to feel confident when I spoke and I wanted people to respect my opinions.
Does it surpre you to dcover how much you have in common with an 89-year-old woman? I know that many of you graduates today, whether you were born in 1907 or 1967, have faced similar barriers to completing your studies and have sometimes felt inferior around those you work or socialize with just because you didn t have a degree.
But I am here today -- like you are -- to prove that it can be done; that the power gained by understanding and appreciating the world around us can be obtained by anyone regardless of social status, personal challenges, or age. That belief what has motivated me for the last 75 years to get th degree. It also the msion of the Harvard Extension School. Without the support I received from th school, I might not have graduated until I was 100 -- a phrase that many of you have probably used in jest.
There are many students here who do not have the opportunity that I do to speak their minds and have everybody lten, whether they want to or not. But be assured, fellow graduates, that we are more similar than you might think. If you have treated education as your main goal, and not as a means to an end, then you, too, have probably been claimed as a msing person once in your academic career, whether you were lost in the stars or the stacks of Widener Library.
And you, too, know that the journey was worth it, and that the power of knowledge makes me the most formidable 89-year-old woman at the bus stop.
If somebody tells you, " I'll love you for ever," will you believe it?
I don't think there's any reason not to. we are ready to believe such commitment at the moment, whatever change may happen afterwards. As for the belief in an everlasting love, that's another thing.
Then you may be asked whether there such a thing as an everlasting love. I'd answer i believe in it. But an everlasting love not immutable.
You may unswervingly love or be loved by a person. But love will change its composition with the passage of time. It will not remain the same. In the course of your growth and as a result of your increased experience, love will become something different to you.
In the beginning you believed a fervent love for a person could last indefinitely. By and by, however," fervent" gave way to " prosaic" . Precely because of th change it became possible for love to last. Then what was meant by an everlasting love would eventually end up in a sort of interdependence.
We used to inst on the difference between love and liking. The former seemed much more beautiful than the latter. one day, however, it turns out there's really no need to make such difference. Liking actually a sort of love. By the same token, the everlasting interdependence actually an everlasting love.
I wh could believe there was somebody who would love me forever. That's, as we all know, too romantic to be true. Instead, it will more often than not be a case of lasting relationship.
"On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in h armchair, peacefully gone to sleep-but forever.
"An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by htorical science, in the death of th man. The gap that has been left by the departure of th mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.
"Just as Darwin dcovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx dcovered the law of development of human htory: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means of substence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.
"But that not all. Marx also dcovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalt mode of production and the bourgeo society that th mode of production has created. The dcovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeo economts and socialt critics, had been groping in the dark.
"Two such dcoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it granted to make even one such dcovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated -- and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially -- in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent dcoveries.
My dream ended when I was born. Although I never knew it then, I just held on to something that would never come to pass. Dreams really do ext. But in the morning when you wake up, they are remembered just as a dream. That what happened to me.
I always had the dream to dance like a beautiful ballerina twirling around and around and hearing people applaud for me. When I was young,I would twirl around and around in the fields of wildflowers that grew in my backyard.
I thought that if I twirled faster everything would dappear and I would wake up in a new place. Reality woke me up when I heard a voice saying, "I don't know why you bother trying to dance. Ballerinas are pretty , slender little girls. Besides, you don't have the talent to even be a ballerina." I remember how those words paralyzed every feeling in my body. I fell to the ground and wept for hours.
We lived in the country by a nearby lake. I did not like to be at home.When my parents were home, my mother just yelled and criticized because nothing was ever perfect in her life. She dreamed of a different life but she ended up living in the country far away from the city where she believed her dreams would have come true.
I enjoyed hanging out by the water. I would sit there for hours and stare at my reflection. There I was, looking nothing like a pretty ballerina dancer. Reflections don't lie. Once the waves would come, my reflection was gone. Washed away just like my dream to dance.
As I grew older, I began to realize that the reason my dream was even born, was because it was something that was. inside of me. The dream I had was never nurtured and cared for, so it slowly died. It's not that I wanted it to die, but I allowed it to die the day I started ltening to the words, "You can't do it." When I finally woke up from many years of dreaming, I realized that you can't settle for dancing in the wildflowers, you have to move on to the platform。
Inside the Russian Embassy in London a KGB colonel pufTed a cigarette as he read the handwritten note for the third time. There was no need for the writer to express regret, he thought. Correcting th problem would be easy. He would do that in a moment. The thought of it caused a grim smile to appear and joy to h heart. But he pushed away those thoughts and tumed h attention to a framed photograph on h desk. H wife was beautiful, he told himself as he remembered the day they were
married. That was forty-three years ago, and it had been the proudest and happiest day ofh life,
What had happened to all that time? Why had it passed so quickly, and why hadn't he spent more ofit with her? Why hadn't he held her close and told her more often that he loved her?He cursed himself as a tear came from the comer ofh eye, ran down h cheek, and then dropped onto the note. He stitTened and wiped h face with the back of h hand. There was no need for remorse or regret, he told himself. In a few moments he would join her and at that time would express h undying love and
After setting the note ablaze he dropped it into an ashtray and watched it burn. For a time the blaze cast moving shadows on the walls of the darkened room, then they nickered and died out. The colonel dropped the cigarette to the floor and ground it out with h heel, then clutched the photograph to h breast, removed a ptol from h pocket, placed the barrel in h mouth and pulled the trier. In the ashtray a small portion of the note remained. Where it had been wetted by h tear it had failed to bum, and on that scrap of paper were the words "died yesterday".
他点燃了字条，将它扔进了烟灰缸中，看着它慢慢地燃烧起来。在火苗的映衬下，这间漆黑的屋子里的四壁一时变得影影绰绰。不一会儿 ，火苗成了星星点点，渐渐地熄灭了。上校把香烟扔在了地板上，用后脚跟将其碾灭，随后抓起照片放在自己的胸前。他从衣兜中掏出一把手 ，将枪筒放进自己的嘴中，接着扣动了扳机。在烟灰缸中还残留着—小片字条，由于被上校的泪水浸湿而未能燃尽。在这块残片上有这样几个字“昨天去世”。
I was 45 years old when I decided to learn how to surf.They say that life tough enough.But I guess I like to make things difficult on myself, because I do that all the time.Every day and on purpose.That's because I believe in drupting my comfort zone.When I started out in the entertainment business,I made a lt of people that I thought would be good to me.Not people who could give me a job or a deal,but people who could shake me up, teach me something, challenge my ideas about myself and the world.So I started calling up experts in all kinds of fields. Some of them were world-famous.Of course, I didn't know any of these people and none of them knew me.So when I called these people up to ask them for a meeting,the response wasn't always friendly.And even when they agreed to give me some of their time,the results weren't always what one might describe as pleasant.Take, for example, Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb.It took me a year of begging and more begging to get to him to agree to meet with me.And then what happened? He ridiculed me and insulted me.But that was okay. I was hoping to learn something from him—and I did,even if it was only that I'm not that interesting to a physict with no taste for our pop culture.Over the last 30 years, I've produced more than 50 movies and 20 televion series.I'm successful and, in my business, pretty well known.So why do continue to subject myself to th sort of thing?The answer simple:Drupting my comfort zone, bombarding myself with challenging people and situations—th the best way that I know to keep growing.And to paraphrase a biologt I once met,if you're not growing, you're dying.So maybe I'm not the best surfer on the north shore, but that's okay.The dcomfort, the uncertainty, the physical and mental challenge that I get from th—all the things that too many of us spend our time and energy trying to avoid—they are precely the things that keep me in the game.