Replaying Your Lifetime's Favorite Activities

Identifying and perhaps revisiting your life's favorite movies, and experiences.

Posted Aug 01, 2020

Clker-free Vector Images, Pixabay, Public Domain
Source: Clker-free Vector Images, Pixabay, Public Domain

By the time we’ve reached a certain age, we have a fund of activities we particularly enjoyed.

In deciding what to do today, we tend to search for something new, but we may boost our chances of finding joy by revisiting past favorites.

Here are mine with a bit of commentary designed to trigger ideas of your own

Movie or TV show. Fiddler on the Roof movingly portrays the tension between tradition and change across the generations. When I play the piano for people, for example, at my 70th birthday concert, I almost always include Sunrise Sunset. Similarly, for me, the TV series All in the Family memorably portrays that tension between conservatism and liberalism, with the conservative Archie Bunker ever the whipping boy. What movie or TV show has most affected who you are today?

Music. Eva Cassidy, who died way too young but suffused all of her pain into a gimmick-free performance of my mother’s favorite song, which my mom sang around the house, Autumn Leaves. What song or piece of music most moves you?

Book. The Fountainhead. Yes, I know the intelligentsia considers The Fountainhead sophomoric, but it, more than anything else I’ve read, inspired me to write and speak even when my view is in the minority. See for example, "'White Male' Shouldn't Be an Epithet."

Trip. When my father, for the first and only time in his life, closed his store for a week so the family could take a vacation, we drove from New York City to Niagara Falls, stopping at Howe Caverns and the Baseball Hall of Fame. That motivated me to take our extended family on a cruise—this February, narrowly missing a long COVID lockdown at sea.

Platonic friend. I met David Wilens when we were in the 2nd grade at adjacent urinals in the boy’s bathroom at P.S. 173. We’ve been best friends ever since. I’ve since learned that many people, especially women, often bond at a public bathroom mirror.

Romantic partner. I certainly could talk about my wife, Barbara Nemko. After all, we’ve been together for 47 years, but it may be more instructive to talk about my first love, Ruthy Sovronsky nee Oelbaum. The perfect antidote to my insecurity and sad demeanor, Ruthy was upbeat and secure as well as kind. We were together for our junior and senior years in high school but we agreed that it was too early to settle down. I ended up introducing her to her husband Howie Sovronsky, and they, my wife, and I still stay in touch these 52 years later. Who was the romantic partner who most positively affected you? If you’re not currently in touch, should you be?

Other activity. For me, it was playing college baseball. Until college, my parents had never let me play for fear of hurting my hands, rendering me unable to play the piano. But in college, when I finally was away from my parents' restraints, I jumped at the chance to play ball. I wasn't good, #25 on a 25-man roster in Division III (the lowest NCAA division), but it felt good just to put on the uniform and practice, and I did have one moment.

The takeaway: So what do you want to do today?

I read this aloud on YouTube.