Love Will Keep You Young

My grandfather was a piano tuner, so all of his kids got piano lessons from infancy.

By 4 years old, my dad was playing Mozart’s scales in the dark. He gave his first concert at 6 and composed his first piece of music at 8. By the time he was 16, he was being scouted for professional gigs, but my grandparents insisted he finishes his education.

Two months out of high school, he signed on with Louis Armstrong and never looked back, despite the fact he wasn’t allowed to eat in or sleep at most of the establishments he played, thanks to segregation.

Over the course of 60 years, he played with all the greats and was still gigging steadily at 80 years old. He could still toss me across the room, still said his prayers, and practiced his yoga every morning. The weekend before he was hospitalized, he had four gigs; two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday. I drove him to all.

The lesson: do the things you love with all your heart while you’ve got the chance. Nothing will keep you young and vibrant longer.