Growing old

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Quotes about ageing.


  • The land of the living was not far removed from the domain of the ancestors. There was coming and going between them, especially at festivals and also when an old man died, because an old man was very close to the ancestors. A man's life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors.
  • It was one of the deadliest and heaviest feelings of my life to feel that I was no longer a boy. From that moment I began to grow old in my own esteem — and in my esteem age is not estimable.
    • Lord Byron, from The Works of Lord Byron, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1901), vol. V: Letters and Journals, ch. XXIII: "Detached Thoughts" (1821-10-15 – 1822-05-18), paragraph 72 (p. 445)
  • Gross well says that children are young because they play, and not vice versa; and he might have added, men grow old because they stop playing, and not conversely, for play is, at bottom, growth, and at the top of the intellectual scale it is the eternal type of research from sheer love of truth.
    • G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education (1904), p. 235. The reference to “Gross” is apparently to Karl Groos, Die Spiele der Thiere (The Play of Animals), 1896, p. 68, "die Thiere spielen nicht, weil sie jung sind, sondern sie haben eine Jugend, weil sie spielen müssen." (“The animals do not play because they are young, but they have a youth because they must play.”)
    • Variously attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr or Jr), Herbert Spencer, or George Bernard Shaw, but this is apparently the original source.
    • Variant: "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." (Joseph Lee?)[citation needed]
  • One of the duties of old-age, is the management of time. The less that remains to us, the more valuable we ought to consider it.


  • "Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened." -- Jennifer Yane
  • To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. -- Henri Frederic Amiel
  • Growing old is compulsory; growing up is optional. -- Bob Monkhouse
  • "The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." -- Lucille Ball
  • "One to-day is worth two to-morrows." -- Benjamin Franklin
  • "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
  • "Thanks to modern medical advances such as antibiotics, nasal spray, and Diet Coke, it has become routine for people in the civilized world to pass the age of 40, sometimes more than once." -- Dave Barry, "Your Disintegrating Body," Dave Barry Turns 40, 1990
  • "Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself." -- Tom Wilson
  • "You're old, I'm not, who cares." -- Tom Jones
  • "The young without hope grow up free from worries, the young free from worries grow up to be hopeless and worried" -- San Igual de Petuz (pseudonym) in 'prodigious younsters' by Karen Smith'
  • "Old rules and habits have to be rejected and dismissed so that something new can be created." - Michael Cretu
  • "You know you've grown up when you stop wishing you were older. You know you've gotten old when you start wishing you were younger." - Bill Mech

Feeling insecure[edit]

  • "When I have a birthday I take the day off. But when my wife has a birthday, she takes a year or two off."
  • "We know when we're getting old when the only thing we want for our birthday is not to be reminded of it."
  • "It's so sad to grow old alone. My wife hasn't had a birthday in 4 years. She was born in the year of our Lord-only-knows."

Looking back on youth[edit]

  • "Youth is a disease from which we all recover." -- Dorothy Fulheim
  • "Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children." -- George Bernard Shaw
  • "Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life." -- Herbert Asquith
  • "It's never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

Middle age[edit]

  • "Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle." -- Bob Hope
  • "Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places."


  • "First you forget names; then you forget faces; then you forget to zip up your fly; and then you forget to unzip your fly." -- Branch Rickey

But you're not growing old if ...[edit]

  • "You're not 40, you're eighteen with 22 years experience." -- Anonymous
  • "I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now." -- Anonymous
  • "Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again." -- Menachem Mendel Schneerson
  • "To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent that is to triumph over old age." -- Thomas B. Aldrich

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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