Grandfather’s Advice to the Grandchildren After Blowing Out the Candles on His 78th Birthday Cake

Today I am 25. Really. That 25 Celsius, or 78 Fahrenheit, if you insist. I have a message on this occasion for my dear grandchildren and step grandchildren. It may surprise you to hear this, but it’s better being 78 than 25. Of course, everyone who wants to be 78 someday-and who doesn’t?-has to go through 25 to get there. It can’t be helped.

To those of you who have not been 25 yet-or even reached your teen years-that’s you, Charlie, Cadi, Buddy Miles, Madison, Dutch, Raleigh, Isabella and Caroline, take your time. Pace yourself-enjoy every year up to 25 and the HUGE number of years after 25-on your life path toward someday being where I am as of today-78 Fahrenheit. All the years are precious-and you have to pass every one in order to someday get to where I am now.

Along the way, you’re going to discover amazing things about stars and galaxies, about time and space, about health and sickness, about winning and not winning, about loving people, about a bazillion things, large and small, silly and important. Every day, you’ll discover really cool facts you didn’t know about animals, science, art and music. These are just a few examples-there’s so much more-too many things to list, or you’d miss your bedtime.

But just think how much you’ll know when you’re 25 Celsius, or 78 Fahrenheit. Well, that’s me-78. Can you believe how much I must know about everything, almost?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. In the next couple days, for only one penny, I, Popadon, 78 years old, will answer your questions. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know about anything. Remember-I’m 78 Fahrenheit-every day since I was your ages until now, I’ve learned stuff about nature, stars, time, space and other things. So, don’t miss your chance-ask me a question. For only a penny.

But, there is one rule. There’s a limit of three questions. So, think about what you really really want to know. Pick the most important questions you can think of. And here’s the point. It doesn’t matter so much if I know the answers. Chances are, I won’t-and I’ll admit it. You can Google the answers, or we can do so together. The idea is you learn just by asking questions.

Whenever you want to know something, ask a question. Never be afraid to do that. Don’t immediately accept the answers you get, especially if they seem a little strange or just plain crazy. Wait a little while before you believe what others say are the answers. Maybe yes, maybe no. Wait until you’ve had time to think about the answers you’re given and, if it’s important, to ask others what they think the answers are. Most of the time it won’t even cost you a penny to ask questions, or explore good answers. And most of the time there won’t be any limit on the number of questions you can ask.

And someday, a long long long long time from now, when you’re 78 Fahrenheit and you’re having a party and your grandchildren and step-grandchildren ask you questions, they’ll really get their money’s worth.

I love you all. With a little bit of random good fortune, your lives are will be truly wonderful.

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