Contentment in Later Years

No money, no position, and no power can bring you peace of heart and mind in the later years of life- when you see the dawn in the horizon-, but contentment and through belief in "Change".


 There is no reason to dread the passage of time. Age is, or should be, the rich and happy fulfillment of life- the shining consummation of all that has gone before.

“Don’t be ashamed of your gray hair!” wrote William Lyon Phelps, when he himself was sixty-two. “Wear it proudly, like a flag. …Grow old eagerly, triumphantly!”

With age come wisdom and understanding. With age come many joys and compensations. “Each part of life has its own abundant harvest, to be garnered in season,” said Cicero. “Old age is rich in blessings.”

All through history we find convincing proof that mental powers increase with age, that artistic and intellectual powers are often intensified in later years. Michelangelo was still producing masterpieces at eighty-nine. Goethe completed the second part of Faust when he was eighty-two. Wagner finished Parsifal at sixty-nine, and Voltaire wrote Candide at sixty-five. Handel was still composing beautiful music, Longfellow was still writing immortal poetry, after seventy. Some of the greatest tasks ever undertaken by men were begun and carried trough in what are called life’s declining years. In life begins at Forty, Walter Pitkin points out that nine-tenth of the world’s best work has been done by older people, well past their prime.

“To know how to grow old is a masterwork of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living,” wrote Henri F. Amiel in his famous Journal. This is truer today than it has ever been, with the life span lengthened and the opportunities for older people greater than ever before in history.

Lillian Eichler Watson

  • It is magnificent to grow old, if one keeps young.

Harry Emerson Fosdick 

  • Each part of life has its own pleasures. Each has its own abundant harvest, to be garnered in season. We may grow old in body, but we need never grow old in mind and spirit. We must make a stand against old age. We must atone for its faults by activity. We must exercise the mind as we exercise the body, to keep it supple and buoyant. Life may be short, but it is long enough to live honorably and well. Old age is the consummation of life, rich in blessing.

Marcus Tullius Cicero 

  • Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.

Charles Dickens 

  • The best insurance against melancholia, depression, and a sense of futility in old age is the development of wide horizons and the cultivation of mental elasticity and interest in the world. Unlike the flesh, the spirit does not decay with the years. Many of the happiest individuals in the world are men and women in their sixties, seventies, or eighties, who have contributed richly to the world’s work during their maturity, and at the same time have cultivated sufficient awareness and interest in the undying cultural activities to make their leisure a delight. …

    The older men grow the more they realize that it is only by putting the focus of their activities in some movement or activity greater than their individual ego, that they can attain peace and security in old age.

W. Beran Wolfe 

  • Of the three watchwords for the happiness hunter - self-recognition, self-direction, and self-expression – it is the last that is most important for the graying years. The others also have their place in the sixties and seventies, but in not such a prominent place as before. Self-expression is the field to cultivate for later happiness. Then a man or woman has more to express. Life begins at forty, yes, and it begins at sixty sometimes and even later. When all seems disappointing, when a review of one’s life reveals no one great thing done, the man who takes inventory and devotes himself for some weeks and months to self-examination, may discover some neglected element which when brought out into its proper place may transform his life. Some desire he had in boyhood, which got buried because of other interests may suddenly appear again. It may prove to have been his true bent, his real calling, and even the man of sixty, perhaps especially the man of sixty, ripened and strengthened by life experience, may take this boyhood ambition and in a surprisingly short time find himself doing more with the thing than he could have as a boy.

    The technique of happiness for the elderly person is somewhat different from that for the youthful but too much has been made of the difference between youth and old age. The human personality changes through the years, it is true, and yet it strongly remains the same. We have many second chances in life, sometimes even tenth chances. Let no man give up hope till the last breath is drawn.

Charles Francis Potter 

  • The shadows of evening lengthen about me, but morning is in my heart.

Sir William Mulock 

  • Age is a quality of mind.

    If you have left your dreams behind,

    If hope is cold,

    If you no longer look ahead,

    If your ambitions’ fires are dead-

    Then you are old.

    But if from life you take the best,

    And if in life you keep the jest,

    If love you hold;

    No matter how the years go by,

    No matter how the birthdays fly-

    You are not old.

Author unknown 

  • If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old.

James A. Garfield 

  • It is sad to see so many men and women afraid of growing old. They are bondage to fear. Many of them, when they find the first gray hair, are alarmed. Now one really ought not to be alarmed when one’s hair turns gray; if it turned green or blue the one ought to see a doctor. But when it turns gray, that simply means there is so much gray matter in the skull there is no longer room for it; it comes out and discolors the hair. Don’t be ashamed of your gray hair; Wear it proudly like a flag. You are fortunate, in a world of so many vicissitudes, to have lived long enough to earn it.

William Lyon Phelps 

  • Youth is not a time of life – it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep spring of life.

    Youth means temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite of adventure over love of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty more than in a boy of twenty.

    Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years; people grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear, and despair- these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to the dust.

    Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement at the stars and the star like things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what next, and the joy and the game of life.

    You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

Samuel Ullman 

  • To me old age is always fifteen years older than I am.

Bernard Baruch 

  • Let us see to it ... that our lives, like jewels of great price, be noteworthy not because of their width, but because of their weight. Let us measure them by their performance, not their duration.


  • Expect the best! It lies not in the past.

    God ever keeps the good wine till the last.

    Beyond are nobler work and sweeter rest.

    Expect the best.

William Pierson Merrill 

  • Life must be measured by thought and actions, not by time.

Sir John Lubbock