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
be ashamed of your gray hair!” wrote William Lyon Phelps, when he
himself was sixty-two. “Wear it proudly, like a flag. …Grow old
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.”
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.
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.
is magnificent to grow old, if one keeps young.
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.
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
- 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
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.
shadows of evening lengthen about me, but morning is in my heart.
- Age is a quality
If you have left
your dreams behind,
If hope is cold,
If you no longer
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
You are not old.
wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon
the heart. The spirit should not grow old.
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.
- 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.
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.
me old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
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.
must be measured by thought and actions, not by time.