We all age and become older, from birth to death. As we get older, we may know more than we did when we were younger. We also are more likely to have bodies that don’t work as well as they once did. Aging has its advantages and disadvantages, and they aren’t always what our first reactions might be. The “winter of our life” can be meaningful and it can be discouraging. Pundits and poets have weighed in on the meaning and experience of aging.
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will;
You’ve play’d, and lov’d, and ate, and drank your fill;
Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
Comes titt’ring on, and shoves you from the stage.
Of all the wastes of human ignorance perhaps the most extravagant and costly to human growth has been the waste of the distinctive powers of womanhood after the child-bearing age.
If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress.
In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.
There’s no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.
I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because some day in life you will have been all of these.
Women over fifty already form one of the largest groups in the population structure of the Western world. As long as they like themselves, they will not be an oppressed minority. In order to like themselves they must reject trivialization by others of who and what they are. A grown woman should not have to masquerade as a girl in order to remain in the land of the living.
You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.
We are always the same age inside.
The easiest thing for our friends to discover in us, and the hardest thing for us to discover in ourselves, is that we are growing old.
The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why doesn’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls. Why don’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
Winter, which strips the leaves from around us, makes us see the distant regions they formerly concealed; so does old age rob us of our enjoyments, only to enlarge the prospect of eternity before us.
He who would pass the declining years of his life with honor and comfort, should when young, consider that he may one day become old, and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.
We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.
When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect — but do not believe him. Never put your trust into anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or has lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel laureate — may be wrong. The world progresses, year by year, century by century, as the members of the younger generation find out what was wrong among the things that their elders said. So you must always be skeptical — always think for yourself.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty, they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.
The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.
There are two things that one must get used to or one will find life unendurable: the damages of time and injustices of men.
Live your life and forget your age.
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.
You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.
We ask for long life, but ’tis deep life, or noble moments that signify. Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.
We are reformers in spring and summer; in autumn and winter, we stand by the old; reformers in the morning, conservers at night.
Play is hard to maintain as you get older. You get less playful. You shouldn’t, of course.