A friend in Germany told me recently he preferred to read newspaper “Die Zeit” rather than the news journal “Der Spiegel” because “Die Zeit” was “unaufgeregt”. I’ve no idea how to translate this word. To be honest, I didn’t even know that it existed in German. Maybe he just made it up himself?

It means something like “not panicky”, “not headline grabbing”, “un-agitated”, “not excited”. So here was someone who liked his news and his news analysis in a not-excited-way. When I listen to the news these days, and think of my friend, I wonder whether he is listening to the news at all. Or whether he has decided that this is all getting too much.

Pádraig was ‘unaufgeregt’ getting towards the end of his studies, ‘unaufgeregt’ in a good way. Of course, he could get excited and he knew what he wanted. But he had reached that point where he managed to take other people’s bad humour, their temper, their lack of being reasonable, with a smile, maybe just shaking his head in disbelieve.

Now I’m so much older and haven’t managed to reach that state of mind. So I asked someone who knows Pádraig quite well how Pádraig managed to get there. The answer  I got was: Pádraig was happy.

It was that happiness that allowed him to take on life (and people) with a wink in his eyes. To be cool about all the annoying things in life. To be completely and utterly ‘unaufgeregt’, in the best possible sense of the word.