1. Growing Old is Obligatory; Growing Up is Optional.*

Sunday 5th April 2015

Berta-The Barber of Seville 1984

This morning I woke up old and I realized, my obligation had to be fulfilled like everyone else’s.

The image I saw in the mirror brought to mind the photo you see: my 30-year-old self, singing the role of Bertha, a mid-60s maid, from Rossini’s Opera, The Barber of Seville.

At the time, I was quite convinced I would never reach such a ripe age. I dreaded both, reaching it and not.

Today, as I scanned the prune-like face in the mirror, I felt, as I often do, so happy and triumphant that I have made it this far!

I dare say I have also kept growing up.

I have grown in wisdom, therefore, in self-acceptance and self-love.

Death doesn’t frighten me as it used to. Neither wrinkles do.

Berta’s aria finishes with the lines:

“E vecchietta disperata

mi convien così crepar.”

And old, desperate

It’s more convenient that I kick the bucket.

First I thought of writing that, Non mi convien cosi crepar,

But then, as I am learning Italian, I checked in the dictionary and crepare also means: to splitting one’s sides laughing. You only need to add “dalle rise”.

Therefore, I will crepar dalle rise, and continue to laugh into any age, genes, fate and my own efforts, take me.

Happy growing old and up!

* I wish the quote was mine. I translated it from Spanish, and I guess it comes from my cheerful 82-year-old brother-in-law, Luis Carlos, who spends a lot of his time sourcing interesting, wise and funny quotes and stories from the Internet.

** For the old or young, but curious, go to my Music Matters… to Me, for some links to Berta’s aria, none sung by me as in those days in Colombia (1983 and 1984), live performances weren’t recorded. You will also find a trip to memory lane from my days with the Colombian National Opera Company.

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