aging - aging 2 - youth

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

Cheerfulness and content are great beautifiers, and are famous preservers of youthful looks.

Charles Dickens
The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal.  There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill.  There is time to hear the kind voice of friends and to say to one's self:  "The work is done."  But just as one says that, the answer comes: "The race is over, but the work never is done while the power to work remains."  The canter that brings you to a standstill need not be only coming to a rest.  It cannot be, while you still live.  For to live is to function.  That is all there is in living.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

One's age should be tranquil, as childhood should be playful.  Hard work at either extremity of life seems out of place.  At midday the sun may burn, and people labor under it; but the morning and evening should be alike calm and cheerful.

Thomas Arnold

I think we exaggerate the flexibility and freshness of young people.  Advanced age can be conducive to conceptual skills that are extraordinarily important.

Ross Webber


I planted a maple tree next to the first house I owned, just a skinny runt
of a thing. . . . It seemed far off in the future before that tree would
amount to anything.  But when I went back there forty years later, I
couldn't believe my eyes.  The tree was towering over the house, the
queen of the neighborhood.  In the meantime, I'd become an old man.
This was the first time I ever really believed that the world will go on
just fine when I'm gone. . . . Ever since then, I've been living
in tree time.  It's a fine way to live.

Sean O'Callahan


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A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth.  Instead
of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give
us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.

Lydia Maria Child


To resist the frigidity of old age, one must combine the body,
the mind, and the heart.  And to keep these in parallel
vigor one must exercise, study, and love.

Charles-Victor de Bonstettin


And yet I look at men and women my age and older, and their scalps
and knuckles and spots and bulges, though various and interesting,
don’t affect what I think of them. Some of these people I consider to
be very beautiful, and others I don’t. For old people, beauty doesn’t
come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young. It has
to do with bones. It has to do with who the person is. More and more
clearly it has to do with what shines through those gnarly faces and bodies.

Ursula K. LeGuin



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In youth we learn, in old age we understand.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach


Old age has a great sense of calm and freedom.
When the passions have relaxed their hold,
you have escaped not from one master but from many.



A half century of living should put a good deal into a person's face
besides a few wrinkles and some unwelcome folds around the chin.

Frances Parkinson Keyes

The German author Hermann Hesse writes that the more one
matures, the younger one grows.  Certainly there are many
people who as they age become increasingly vigorous and
energetic, more broad-minded and tolerant, living with a greater
sense of freedom and assurance.  It is important to remember
that aging and growing old are not necessarily the same thing.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

Those who love deeply never grow old;
they may die of old age, but they die young.



Old people are always young enough to learn, with profit.



Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and
health. Some people are born old, and some never grow so.

Tryon Edwards


Two nights ago I was called at the last minute to attend the caucus of
Town Meeting … and it threw me.  But at least the companionship gave
me one insight:  a neighbor told me she had been in a small car accident
and had managed to persuade the local paper to ignore her true age (as
it appears on her license) and to print her age as thirty-nine! I was really
astonished by this confidence.  I am proud of being fifty-eight, and still alive
and kicking, in love, more creative, balanced, and potent than I have ever
been. I mind certain physical deteriorations, but not really.  And not at all
when I look at the marvelous photograph that Bill sent me of Isak Dinesen
just before she died.  For after all we make our faces as we go along, and
who when young could ever look as she does?  The ineffable sweetness
of the smile, the total acceptance and joy one receives from it, life, death,
everything taken in and, as it were, savored—and let go.

May Sarton
Journal of a Solitude


   aging - aging 2 - youth

I intend to go on with my life by living it, not by buying
into some notion that I no longer have the potential to
become still better.  I refuse to take seriously society's
idea that at the arbitrary age of 65 I am
suddenly a lamp going out.

Roger S. Mills

A major advantage of age is learning to accept people
without passing judgment.

Liz Carpenter

George Meredith, on the celebration of his seventy-fourth birthday said:
"I do not feel that I am growing old, either in heart or mind.  I still look
on life with a young man's eye."  You cannot tell how old people are by
the calendar.  You must measure the spirit, the temperament, the mental
attitude, to get the age.  I know young people who are in their sixties, and
old people who are in their thirties.  "Old age seizes upon ill-spent youth like
fire upon a rotten house."
No one is old until the interest in life is gone out of them, until their spirits
becomes aged, until their hearts become cold and unresponsive; as long
as they touch life at many points they can not grow old in spirit.

Orison Swett Marden
The Joys of Living (1913)


And then, not expecting it, you become middle-aged and anonymous.  No one
notices you.  You achieve a wonderful freedom.  It is a positive thing.
You can move about, unnoticed and invisible.

Doris Lessing


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Those who are of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age.



I am old, yet I look at wise men and see that I am very young.
I look over those stars yonder, and into the myriads of the
aspirant and ordered souls, and see I am a stranger and a youth
and have yet my spurs to win.  Too ridiculous are these airs of age.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.
The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me
the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. . . .
For half a century I have been writing thoughts in prose,
verse, history, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and song.
I have tried them all, but I feel I have not said a thousandth part
of that which is within me.  When I go down to the grave,
I can say "I have finished my day's work,"
but I cannot say "I have finished my life's work."

Victor Hugo


   aging - aging 2 - youth

A good old age can be the crown of all our life's experiences, the
masterwork of a lifetime.  Behind us are years of actions and thoughts
that developed us, changed us--and the world--for the better or the
worse.  We know in our inner selves which they
had been and to what goal they have led.

Helen Nearing

Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age.  Nothing
does--except wrinkles.  It's true, some wines improve with age.
But only if the grapes were good in the first place.

Abigail van Buren


Do not grow old, no matter how long you live.
Never cease to stand like curious children
before the Great Mystery into which we are born.

Albert Einstein

The primitive, physical, functional pattern of the morning of life, the active years before forty or fifty, is outlived.  But there is still the afternoon opening up, which one can spend not in the feverish pace of the morning but in having time at last for those intellectual, cultural, and spiritual activities that were pushed aside in the heat of the race.  We Americans, with our terrific emphasis on youth, action, and material success, certainly tend to belittle the afternoon of life and even pretend that it never comes.  We push the clock back and try to prolong the morning, overreaching and overstraining ourselves in the unnatural effort.  We do not succeed, of course.  We cannot compete with our sons and daughters.  And what a struggle it is to race with these overactive and under-wise adults!  In our breathless attempts we often miss the flowering that waits for afternoon.

For is it not possible that middle age can be looked upon as a period of second flowering, second growth, even a kind of second adolescence?  It is true that society in general does not help one accept this interpretation of the second half of life. And therefore this period of expanding is often tragically misunderstood.  Many people never climb above the plateau of forty-to-fifty.  The signs that presage growth, so similar, it seems to me, to those in early adolescence:  discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing, and interpreted falsely as signs of decay.  In youth one does not as often misinterpret the signs; one accepts them, quite rightly, as growing pains.  One takes them seriously, listens to them, follows where they lead.  One is afraid.  Naturally.  Who is not afraid of pure space--that breath-taking empty space of an open door?  But despite fear, one goes through to the room beyond.

But in middle age, because of the false assumption that  it is a period of decline, one interprets these life-signs, paradoxically, as signs of approaching death.  Instead of facing them, one runs away; one escapes--into depressions, nervous breakdowns, drink, love affairs, or frantic, thoughtless, fruitless overwork.  Anything, rather than face them.  Anything, rather than stand still and learn from them.  One tries to cure the signs of growth, to exorcise them, as if they were devils, when really they might be angels of annunciation.

Angels of annunciation of what?  Of a new stage in living when, having shed many of the physical struggles, the worldly ambitions, the material encumbrances of active life, one might be free to fulfill the neglected side of one's self.  One might be free for growth of mind, heart, and talent; free at last for spiritual growth; free of the clamping sunrise shell.  Beautiful as it was, it was still a closed world one had to outgrow.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift from the Sea

As for old age, embrace and love it.  It abounds with pleasure if
you know how to use it.  The gradually declining years are among
the sweetest in a person's life, and I maintain that, even when they
have reached the extreme limit, they have their pleasure still.


The whole secret of remaining young in spite of years, and
even of grey hairs, is to cherish enthusiasm in oneself, by
poetry, by contemplation, by charity,--that is, in fewer words,
by the maintenance of harmony in the soul.   When everything
is in its right place within us, we ourselves are in equilibrium
with the whole work of God.   Deep and grave enthusiasm for
the eternal beauty and the eternal order, reason touched with
emotion and a serene tenderness of heart--these surely
are the foundations of wisdom.

Henri Frederic Amiel


You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older.

Anouk Aimee



Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)


When Walker first steps onto the road, he has no thoughts, no history, no memories, and no clothes. As he travels and meets people and learns from them, he comes to know more about life, living, and becoming the person he's meant to be. Walker is a parable for all of us who wonder what might be the purpose of life, why bad things happen with almost as much regularity as good things, and how we can learn from the bad examples and experiences in our lives as much as we can learn from the good things. Tom Walsh's parable is a story of the ages, a timeless exploration of ideas and thoughts that all of us wonder about, a sincere and heartfelt portrait of a man who has no past and no future, but who learns to make the most of each precious present moment as it comes.