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.

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When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

— Abraham Lincoln

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.

— Aldous Huxley

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.

— Alexander Pope

As I get older, I realize that the thing I value the most is good-heartedness.

— Alice Walker

The power of love itself weakens and gradually becomes lost with age, like all the other energies of man.

— Anatole France

It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.

— Andy Rooney

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.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

— Audrey Hepburn

Life’s Tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

— Benjamin Franklin

Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.

— Benjamin Franklin

Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.

— Billie Burke

A woman past forty should make up her mind to be young; not her face.

— Billie Burke

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.

— Carl Sagan

When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you’re older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.

— Casey Stengel

A woman has the age she deserves.

— Coco Chanel

Time goes by, reputation increases, ability declines.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

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.

— Dorothy Parker

There’s no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.

— Edith Wharton

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.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s good to be middle-aged, things don’t matter so much, you don’t take it so hard when things happen to you that you don’t like.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!

— Elizabeth Akers Allen, “Rock Me to Sleep” 1860

Old men’s prayers for death are lying prayers, in which they abuse old age and long extent of life. But when death draws near, not one is willing to die, and age no longer is a burden to them.

— Euripides, Alcestis (438 BCE)

Oftener than not the old are uncontrollable; / Their tempers make them difficult to deal with.

— Euripides

I believe the second half of one’s life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.

— Frances Lear

The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.

— Frank Lloyd Wright

Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

— Franz Kafka

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

— George Orwell

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.

— George Washington Carver
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