Dr Henry Kissinger at 99 is still writing books and speaking to audiences. Of course, he has a team of help that makes it happen, but his mind is still fertile and his wisdom is popularly shared.

The challenge for any man of fair wisdom is to convert his thoughts into popularly shared mediums and a book or two must find an expression. What leaves many forlorn is the absence of the means and the mechanics to bring that to fruition.

Dr. Kissinger is more fortunate. Mahathir Mohamad at 97 just lost an election.

BUT THEN there is President Biden who at 80 already looks the part. He wants to fight the next elections when he will be 82 and Jill Biden, the First Lady, approves of it.That is what will count in the end.

I have time before I make it to that number and know what it is like to be there but looking at him stumbling through the propwash of Mariner on the lawns of the White House somehow only evokes sympathy.

He will, in probability, be kept clinically well by medical science but whether he can keep his knees in order and be mentally there to provide the leadership - if he wins - will be the real test.

The most illustrative grip on ageing though came from Nelson Mandela who at 86 was asked to comment when South Africa was awarded hosting rights to the FIFA world cup. He famously said, '' Oh, I feel like a 55-year-old again.'' What must it be like for him at 86 to recall 55; one may only imagine.

The best piece on ageing was by Lee Kwan Yew, the late and famed prime minister and architect of modern Singapore. He averaged out the ages of both his parents and determined he had till the mean of both their ages to live.

He was surprised when he beat that estimate. As he crossed the assumed threshold, he started giving himself blocks of five years for which to plan. From one block to the next he was encouraged to build a golf course behind his house and worked to keep his physical health in shape.

As he retired from being the prime minister he started extensive travel, even when he was frail and wasn't playing golf anymore and looked at it as a chance to meet people and communicate with them at leisure.

When traveling on a flight he looked forward to who he would meet next. He insisted that the seat next to him must be occupied. He surmised it was key to his mental health.

He died at 92 beating all estimates of how long he might live. Remaining productive helped him being positive and and together it made him relevant to the people and the environment around him. When a person 'believes' he or she is no longer needed they hasten to their end.

On the other aspect that perhaps has not found prominent mention is the value of time as one turns the corner in ageing. The slipped sand in the hour glass is the most poignant reminder of how an asset slips away. It hits hard as you age, that is when time turns precious.

It begins to get used judiciously and only when it is worth its value. All our professional and functioning lives time is the master that runs life; true satisfaction comes when it begins to be controlled and managed.

It is comforting to only barter it for what may please. At 74, the best I can advise those following is to treat time as an asset and save it for when and where the value it returns is the most.

Recently I got asked to define success. Though I assiduously differentiate between success and excellence which to me is a much higher, altruistic pursuit, I suggested, ''Success is when one may use time in how one may prefer''.

The World Students Society thanks author Shahzad Chaudhry.


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