Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.
—Washington Irving (1783–1859) American Essayist, Biographer, Historian
While we look not a that things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
I delight in men over seventy. They always offer one the devotion of a lifetime.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
To think, when one is no longer young, when one is not yet old, that one is no longer young, that one is not yet old, that is perhaps something.
—Samuel Beckett (1906–1989) Irish Novelist, Playwright
Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought.
—Emily Dickinson (1830–86) American Poet
They are all gone into the world of light, and I alone sit lingering here.
—Henry Vaughan (1621–95) Anglo-Welsh Metaphysical Poet
When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch’s statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.
—W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) British Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright
One need only grow old to become gentler in one’s judgments. I see no fault committed which I could not have committed myself.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
The excess of our youth are checks written against our age and they are payable with interest thirty years later.
—Charles Caleb Colton (c.1780–1832) English Clergyman, Aphorist
These are the effects of doting age: vain doubts, idle cares and overcaution.
—John Dryden (1631–1700) English Poet, Literary Critic, Playwright
Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. It buries itself alive. As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wander at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events … it is from numberless acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.
—Robert F. Kennedy (1925–68) American Politician, Civil Rights Activist
I guess I don’t so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.
—Peter Gabriel (b.1950) English Singer-Songwriter
The outer passes away; the innermost is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
How people keep correcting us when we are young! There is always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
The foolishness of old age does not characterize all who are old, but only the foolish.
—Cicero (106BCE–43BCE) Roman Philosopher, Orator, Politician, Lawyer
Of what use is a long life, if we amend so little?. Alas, a long life often adds to our sins rather than to our virtue!
—Thomas a Kempis (1379–1471) German Religious Priest, Writer
My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.
—Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
People between 20 and 40 are not sympathetic. The child has the capacity to do but it can’t know. It only knows when it is no longer able to do-after 40. Between 20 and 40 the will of the child to do gets stronger, more dangerous, but it has not yet begun to know yet. Since his capacity to do is forced into channels of evil through environment and pressures, man is strong before he is moral. The world’s anguish is caused by people between 20 and 40.
—William Faulkner (1897–1962) American Novelist
Nature should have been pleased to have made this age miserable, without making it also ridiculous.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death.
—Herman Melville (1819–91) American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Poet
If someone wants a piece of you, never let them pay. What you do not give to them time takes anyway.
—Jimmy Buffett (b.1946) American Musician, Author
Old age is far more than white hair, wrinkles, the feeling that it is too late and the game finished, that the stage belongs to the rising generations. The true evil is not the weakening of the body, but the indifference of the soul.
—Andre Maurois (1885–1967) French Novelist, Biographer
Age is honorable and youth is noble.
Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
The results of life are uncalculated and uncalculable. The years teach much which the days never know. The persons who compose our company, converse, and come and go, and design and execute many things, and somewhat comes of it all, but an unlooked for result. The individual is always mistaken. He designed many things, and drew in other persons as coadjutors, quarrelled with some or all, blundered much, and something is done; all are a little advanced, but the individual is always mistaken. It turns out somewhat new, and very unlike what he promised himself.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses his courage loses all.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.
—Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) Irish Satirist
Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
—Satchel Paige (1906–82) American Baseball Player
As winter strips the leaves from around us, so that we may see the distant regions they formerly concealed, so old age takes away our enjoyments only to enlarge the prospect of the coming eternity.
—Jean Paul (1763–1825) German Novelist, Humorist
To have courage, one must first be afraid. The deeper the fear, the more difficult the climb toward courage.
—Jim Bishop (1907–87) American Journalist, Author
Maturity is that time when the mirrors in our mind turn to windows and instead of seeing the reflection of ourselves we see others.
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
No man is ever old enough to know better.
—Holbrook Jackson (1874–1948) British Journalist, Writer, Publisher
At eighty-eight how do you feel when getting up in the morning? … Amazed!
—Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) Austrian Economist, Philosopher, Author
In the second half of life the necessity is imposed of recognizing no longer the validity of our former ideals but of their contraries. Of perceiving the error in what was previously our conviction, of sensing the untruth in what was our truth, and of weighing the degree of opposition, and even of hostility, in what we took to be love.
—Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) Swiss Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Philosopher
Age is opportunity no less,
than youth itself, though in another dress.
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled by the stars invisible by the day.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
Some men never seem to grow old. Always active in thought, always ready to adopt new ideas, they are never chargeable with fogy ism. Satisfied, yet ever dissatisfied, settled, yet ever unsettled, they always enjoy the best of what is, and are the first to find the best of what will be.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
You are only young once, but you can be immature forever.
I’m 65 and I guess that puts me in the geriatrics. But if there were 15 months in the year, I’d only be 48. That’s the trouble with us. We number everything. Take women, for example. I think they deserve to have more than 12 years between the ages of 28 and 40.
Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form.
—Andre Maurois (1885–1967) French Novelist, Biographer
Toward old age both men and women hang to life by their habits.
—Charles Reade (1814–84) English Novelist, Playwright
How can the moribund old man reason back to himself the romance, the mystery, the imminence of great things with which our old earth tingled for him in the days when he was young and well?
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.
—Don Marquis (1878–1937) American Humorist, Journalist, Author
Youth changes its tastes by the warmth of its blood; age retains its tastes by habit.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
Many foxes grow gray but few grow good.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
Age is rarely despised but when it is contemptible.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Every age wants its playthings.
Nothing seems to matter quite as much. I no longer think about death in the concentrated way I once did. I don’t know … you get so old and you sort of give up in some way. You’ve had your period of angst, your period of religious desperation, and you’ve arrived at a philosophical position where you don’t need, or you can’t bear, to look at it.
—John Updike (1932–2009) American Novelist, Poet, Short-Story Writer