The main thing that struck me by Levi-Montalcini's life is that nothing is easy. She grew up a woman, went to medical school when women seldom did, and against her father's wishes and graduated just two years before Mussolini issued an edict barring "non-Aryans" from having professional careers.
Still, Levi-Montalcini persisted. She and her family evaded the Nazis. And survived the war in tact.
She went on to do breakthrough work (when the word breakthrough actually meant something) that played a central role in things that are too complicated for me, a mere copywriter, to fathom.
In 1986, at the age of 77, she shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with her scientific partner, Dr. Stanley Cohen.
Here's the part of the obituary I liked the most.
She was a sought-after speaker and in 2009 (when she was 100) she said: "At 100, I have a mind that is superior--thanks to experience--than when I was 20."
Our industry, of course, makes no such concessions for experience and persistence.
We prefer flash-in-the-pans over slow-cooking.
That's just the way it is.
I'm not exactly sure why I feel this is a good wrap-up for 2012.
It's been a good year for me personally.
I have produced a lot of good work and am on the cusp of producing more.
My clients respect me, maybe even harbor a scintilla of fear in regard to me. That is good.
And my agency, after merely tolerating me for nearly three years have finally seen fit to permit me to be me and are, slowly, allowing me a larger canvas.
Still, unlike Levi-Montalcini, our body of work, our years of brand building, of clients building their careers on our work, of improving brands, does not matter.
These days, I'm afraid, we're only as good as our last app.
An app that eleven people will ever use. (But, gee!, it's cool.)
At the age of 55, I feel on borrowed time.
The "wisdom" I've acquired, the experience I've gained remains unrecognized.
We treat people like chewing gum.
We throw them out when the flavor is gone.
Sorry, for the melancholia.
Maybe I read too many obituaries.