Undergraduate education is probably best begun at the age of forty, when one is a bit wiser about the world and so can better test the wisdom of both books and teachers.
— Joseph Epstein, “Time on My Hands, Me in My Arms,” With My Trousers Rolled
This is certainly true in my case. It is a poignant irony that I only realized how suited I would have been to the life of a humble scholar once that door had been long closed to me. Like the dog in Aesop’s fable, I was too busy snapping at illusory bones, like a musical career, to fully appreciate the one I already had in my mouth, namely a passion for learning kindled by philosophy class. In the ancient Hindu conception of the four Ashramas, I’m firmly situated in the Grihastha stage. But since I already did most of my big-picture philosophizing and spiritual-seeking in my teens and twenties, perhaps I can trade and use the upcoming Vanaprastha stage for devoted scholarship instead.