An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson

Valerie Herbert

Tuesdays With Morrie, written by Mitch Albom, is a true story about the revived friendship between a warm-hearted professor and a student who thought that life was about money and status. Morrie is Mitch’s old professor who has been diagnosed with ALS. Mitch, on the other hand, has been chasing after a successful career and abundant life, forgetting about his old professor. 

My first impression of the professor, Morrie, is the thought of a sweet old man who wants to continue living and making the most of the time he has left. As Mitch is describing how his life overflowed with money, status, and his determination, he doesn’t sound that appealing. However, I can’t blame him. We would all try to achieve as many accomplishments as we could if we realized that life was short. 

It wasn’t until Morrie did a televised interview with Ted Koppel that he decided to visit Morrie. Morrie is beyond excited to see Mitch and welcomes him with open arms, despite the years of silence they have had between them. After their first meeting, Mitch begins visiting Morrie on a regular basis, on Tuesdays. They both make the most of the time they have left with each other. 

 While Morrie is sharing with Mitch, the wisdom on the common themes of life, such as regrets, marriage, and culture, Mitch writes down his old professor’s aphorisms. 

“Life is like water pouring down a drain.”

“Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others.” 

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

These are just a few examples of the morals that Morrie teaches in his ‘final class’. It was hard at first for me to read these aphorisms, because of how painfully true they are. I personally try to avoid morbid thoughts like these. However, there is also a sense of hope when Morrie elaborates on these points. Even though these impactful phrases were said directly to Mitch, Morrie knew that his words would be repeated to millions of people around the world. 

Although the aphorisms are impactful, what I love the most about this novel is the interaction between Morrie and Mitch. Morrie wants nothing more than to spend time with the student he adores. Even though life lessons are discussed each of the 14 Tuesdays they spend together, there is still a dynamic that can only happen between life-long friends. There is plenty of comic relief and the way they speak to each other gives you an idea of how much they adore each other. 

Mitch considers Morrie to be his ‘Coach’. I think this fits perfectly with the purpose of this novel. Morrie is somewhat of a “life coach” to Mitch. I also love how Mitch gradually begins to want to take care of Morrie 24/7.  

 ALS has stripped Morrie from the entirety of his physical function, but this disease has not stripped him of his desire to focus on a positive mindset and share his insight on life. Not only is this just a good book to read, it is also a good book that sheds wisdom on popular topics in life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who can get their hands on it.