I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages…the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide… Far too many people misunderstand what *putting away childish things* means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.
Habits are the crutches of old age: by the aid of these we manage to hobble along after the mental joints are stiff and the muscles rheumatic…when every act of self determination costs an effort and a pang.
It requires twenty years for a man to rise from the vegetable state in which he is within his mother’s womb, and from the pure animal state which is the lot of his early childhood, to the state when the maturity of reason begins to appear. It has required thirty centuries to learn a little about his structure. It would need eternity to learn something about his soul. It takes an instant to kill him.
Wherever your life ends, it is all there. The advantage of living is not measured by length, but by use; some men have lived long, and lived little; attend to it while you are in it. It lies in your will, not in the number of years, for you to have lived enough.
We all know the troubles of old age. The bones creak: the eyes get dim, one forgets names…. The spark does not ignite; adrenalin has lost its potency. But there is some thing to be said on the other side. It is pleasant to rise in the morning, look out at the snow, and remark “I’m not going to the office today.” The beauty of nature has lost none of its charm; the beauty of women none of its benediction. There is. . .a possibility of growing old gracefully, and with content in one’s heart.
With the endless cycle of sunrise and sunset, life shortens. Engrossed in mundane tasks, man fails to notice the passage of time. Nor anxiety is felt at witnessing birth, advance of years, suffering and finally death. Oh, the world becomes intoxicated after drinking the wine of delusion.