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INTERESTING STUFF: 28 September 2013

Some Wisdom From the Not Too Distant Past

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Last week, a reporter at Business Insider interviewed me about old and older workers dropping out of the workforce because no one will hire them. The story is titled, BABY BOOMERS: Yeah, We’re Leaving The Labor Force Alright — Because We Can't Get Back In It and you can read it here.]


Considering the approach of my 21st birthday - the date of official adulthood in the early 1960s - I anticipated that upon waking that morning I would have the answers to all of life's important questions.

Well, you know I was disappointed. Deeply so. Wisdom (for that is what I was counting on) is hard-earned over many years of living and in my case, has not arrived yet in the half century since that youthful letdown.

Not that I think it matters. I mean, come on: our society cares a whole lot more – (snark warning) about the pretense of youth than wisdom so what good would it be anyway in contemporary America.

Nevertheless, I hope and it satisfies me to keep nearby and ponder from time to time what some wise old souls from times past have had to say about growing old. Just a handful of them for you today.

Gay Gaer Luce:
”A person of sixty can grow as much as a child of six. The later years are a time for self-development, emancipation, a spiritual growth.”
Anatole Broyard:
”If we face now the reality, at 63 or 70, 75, 80, or 90, that we will indeed, sooner or later, die, then the only big question is how are we going to live the years we have left, however many or few they be?

“What adventures can we now set out on to make sure we'll be alive when we die? Can age itself be such an adventure?
Simone de Beauvoir:
”A few years more or less matters little when set against the freedom and peace of mind one achieves the moment one stops running away from death.”
Victor Hugo: ”When grace combines with wrinkles, it is admirable. There is an indescribably light of dawn about intensely happy old age...The young man is handsome, but the old, superb.”
Edith Wharton:
”In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy, sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Carl Hansen: Outdoor Weddings


Comments

Wonderful sentiments, but I wonder if they were really unafraid. I traded a chin for a hip....sometimes reality laughs a lot.

The last three quotes struck the loudest chord for me.

Now that's wisdom. I am, of course, referring to the quotes.

I apply "happy in small ways" to my life now. And I have not feared death for a long time. I fear what may lead up to it.

"... to make sure we'll be alive when we die" -- what a great turn of phrase.

I'm definitely into the "happy in small ways," excellent quote. It seems to me life has mostly been about the small things, punctuated off and on by the major.

Lovely thoughts to keep nearby. Thank you! I'll add these to my own collection, if you don't mind.

Wouldn't mind seeing more quotes like these. Reading them was refreshing like a cleansing breeze through the mind. Thank you for bringing them to us.

I don't think sorrow is the archenemy; depression certainly might be. Sorrow is just another flavor in our rich mix, as long as there is plenty of joy and laughter to balance it out. That is the key.

This is exactly the thinking I'm doing now. How to get ready to face death. I'm only 57, but it seems like now is the time, if I mean facing in the broadest sense.

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