A Mezcalero is a person who grows the agave that produces mezcal and especially enjoys the pleasures that can be derived from partaking in the “Juice of Life.” The older Mezcaleros live to a ripe old age and seemly do not have a problem in the world. Here are some bits of sage advice from an old Mezcalero in his nineties that I met once in San Luis Potosi in Northern Mexico.
He was walking from San Juan de Vanegas to the market in Cedral in the state of San Luis Potosi in Northern Mexico. I stopped and offered him a ride to the market as it was on my way. He was quiet and only spoke when I would ask him a question.
It was a 12 mile walk each way and I learned the old man made the walk twice a week to purchase groceries. It is surprising what you can learn in 12 minutes if you stop talking and listen. When I asked him for his secret to longevity, he responded with the following sage advice.
When you can eat, eat.
When you can sleep, sleep.
When you can enjoy, enjoy.
When you can work, work.
Have a few drinks now and then.
Make love in the shower.
Be thankful if you still have your health.
Do not pass the time complaining. Life has its ups and downs and always will and you cannot change it by complaining.
If you can not sleep, get up and do something - clean your home, write a letter, read and learn something new.
You cannot fix the big problems in life. Fix what you can and let those who can fix other problems do so.
Do not take what is not yours! You should only expect what you deserve.
Whatever you do, do it well or do not do it at all.
Do not be envious of others.
Beware of negative people and move away from them as quickly as possible, and never act like them.
Listen attentively to your others and help them when you can.
Never speak ill of others.
Be proud, but not arrogant or overbearing.
Be humble, but never crouch.
Be brave but never reckless.
Smile when you win.
When you lose, do not act with drama or cry.
When you fail, try something else.
Never worry about what you do not have.
When we reached the market in Cedral, the old man thanked me for the ride. I explained that I would be returning in a bit and if he wanted a ride back to his home, I would be glad to take him. He accepted the offer and and set about to do his shopping. I did my shopping and when I returned to my car, the old man was waiting for me. After we loaded the car with our purchases the old man handed me a bottle of mezcal and offered this one last bit of advice.
When life hands you lemons, don't attempt to make lemonade! Instead, add some mezcal and salt. Because that beats plain old lemonade any day and will make you much happier.
Although, it has been years since the old man shared his advice to me, I am sure he is still alive and well, living in his small adobe home in San Juan de Vanegas. And me - I still keep a few bottles of mezcal in my pantry - ready for the lemons that life throws at me.