Old age is a topic most people want to avoid. It is almost taboo to talk about it in a materialistic society where youth is admired like some kind of jewel. Sooner or later, however, old age — frequently defined as 60 or 65 years of age or older — will come as surely as the ocean tide will kiss the shore. The following quotes may provide some consolation or even inspiration to those who have reached, or are about to reach, this stage in the voyage we call Life.

Every man desires to live long; but no man would be old.

~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting (1706)

Old age is the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man.

~ Leon Trotsky, Trotsky’s Diary in Exile 1935 (1958)

Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form.

~ André Maurois, The Art of Living (1940)

Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.

~ Francis Bacon, Essay XLII, Of Youth and Age (The Essays of Francis Bacon, 1908)

There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning.

~ Simone de Beauvoir, The Coming of Age (1970)

The real affliction of old age is remorse.

~ Cesare Pavese, The Moon and the Bonfires (originally published 1949)

Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood;
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility;
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly.

~ William Shakespeare, As You Like It (c. 1599-1600)

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.

~ Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years (1950)

Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk.

~ George MacDonald, as quoted in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

When grace is mingled with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an indescribable aurora in beaming old age.

~ Victor Hugo, Les Miserables (1887)

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus (1875)

Nobler than a ship safely ending a long voyage, and sublimer than the setting sun, is the old age of a just and kind and useful life.

~ Wm. Mountford, as quoted in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

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