Stagger onward rejoicing

Tag: aging (page 1 of 1)

two quotations on age

Orson Welles:

It’s only in your twenties and in your seventies and eighties that you do the greatest work. The enemy of society is the middle class, and the enemy of life is middle age. Youth and old age are great times — and we must treasure old age and give genius the capacity to function in old age — and not send them away. 

M. John Harrison

The idea you have when you’re young, to reach the edge of what can be done with your abilities and find out what might happen if you went past it? You promise yourself you’ll try but then wake up fifty years later to discover that you were in fact always too sensible to push things until they fell over, in case people thought less of you. In your seventies, though, it doesn’t seem to matter any more what other people think. That’s probably the first phase of your life in which you can actually do what you want. And certainly the last.

In A Writer’s Notebook (1949), Somerset Maugham wrote: “I am like a passenger waiting for his ship at a wartime port. I do not know on which day it will sail but I am ready to embark at a moment’s notice. … I read the papers and flip the pages of a magazine, but when someone offers to lend me a book I refuse because I may not have time to finish it, and in any case with this journey before me I am not of a mind to interest myself in it. I strike up acquaintances at the bar or the cardtable, but I do not try to make friends with people from whom I shall so soon departed. I am on the wing.” Maugham died sixteen years later.

In general, it is extremely foolish … to suppose it should really be such an easy affair with faith and wisdom that they just arrive over the years as a matter of course, like teeth, a beard and that sort of thing. No, whatever a human being comes to as a matter of course, and whatever things come to him as a matter of course, it is definitely not faith and wisdom.

— Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death