epicurus_renderAbout 2,300 years ago, a Greek philosopher named Epicurus pondered the difficulties and rewards of old age. He came to this conclusion:

“It is not the young man who should be considered fortunate, but the old man who has lived well, because the young man in his prime wanders much by chance, vacillating in his beliefs, while the old man has docked in the harbor, having safeguarded his true happiness.”

Epicurus, it turns out, is an excellent guide for baby boomers who are pondering such ageless questions as “How do we live a good and authentic old age?” and “How can we age gracefully?”


“I had to wait 110 years to become famous. I wanted to enjoy it as long as possible.” Jeanne Louise Calment (1875-1997)

This French woman had all her wits about her when she reached the “super-centenarian” age of 110. With her jaunty smile, Calment charmed the world with her upbeat attitude toward aging and life.


glenn_john_hr_1“Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn (1921-2016)

As the oldest person to board a U.S. Space Shuttle at age 77, Senator John Glenn exemplified the view that we shouldn’t let age define us. The calendar is a useful way to let you know the date, but if you let yourself be hemmed in by your chronological age, you may lock yourself out of potentially valuable opportunities.

 


“Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan (1921-2006)

One of the founders of the feminist movement, Betty Friedan continued to inspire women throughout her life, writing about her experiences with aging in The Fountain of Age. In this quote, Friedan captures the concept of successful aging. Let’s redefine later life as a time of growth instead of inevitable decline.


“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

There are several layers of wisdom embedded in this quote. One is that as people get older, their wisdom is expressed by focusing on what is most important. Second, those adults who do focus on loss will be less able to maximize their mental powers, even in areas that traditionally seem vulnerable to the effects of aging. Third, by concentrating on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, your more positive mental set will allow you to take advantage of your mental powers, even if they’re not quite what they were when you were younger.


satchel_paige-rev“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Satchel Paige (1906-1982)

Along the same lines as John Glenn’s quote is that of this baseball legend who continued his successful career well into his 60’s. We are so obsessed with age, Paige implies, that we allow it to define our identities. Break out of the mental set that makes you think of your age first, and your identity second.

 


“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.” Eleanor Roosevelt


“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” Walt Disney


“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” Mark Twain


“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau


“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln