life satisfaction in old AGE

Each age has its own truths, its experiences, its secrets.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V 

The meaning of life varies with age. Each age has its ways of living and feeling life, and its sources of meaning.

Youth may involve an intensity of positive feelings that aged people do not have. Maturity and old age involve new experiences and truths, opening the way to new values and, eventually, to deeper meditations or to feelings of lack of selth worth or lack of meaning.

I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more – the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires – and expires, too soon, too soon – before life itself.
Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, English writer, Youth 

Young men's minds are always changeable, but when an old man is concerned in a matter, he looks both before and after. 
Homer, IX century b.C., Greek poet, Iliad 

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.
Graham Green, 1904-1991, English writer, The Power and the Glory 

No young man believes he shall ever die
William Hazlitt, 1778-1830, British essayist, The Feeling of Immortality in Youth 

Life is half spent before we know what it is. 
George Herbert, 1593-1633, Scottish poet, Jacula Prudentum 

Harsh Old Age

In the ancient tradition of Rome and Greece, old age represents a kind of purgatory; the debility, the end of our big dreams, the surrounding and more frequent pain or illness, and the proximity of death, all are causes of feelings if lack of meaning and purpose of life.

Harsh old age will soon enshroud you - ruthless age which stands someday at the side of every man, deadly, wearying, dreaded even by the gods 
Homer, IX Century a. C., Greek poet, Hymn To Aphrodite

Life’s finest days, for us poor human beings, fly first.
Virgil, 70 a.C.- 19 a. C., Roman poet, Georgics

At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.
Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940, American writer, Bernice Bobs her Hair 

I should describe old age as a kind of incurable disease.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius 

Nothing is more dishonorable then an old man, bent by his old age, without any other proof that he lived, except his own age.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, De Tranquillitate Animi 

An old man in his rudiments is a disgraceful object. 
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius 

Old-age, a second child, by Nature cursed 
With more and greater evils than the first; 
Weak, sickly, full of pains, in every breath
Railing at life, and yet afraid of death.
C. Churchill, 1731-1764, English poet, Gotham 

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, 1561-1626, English philosopher and politician, Essays 

The time remaining to old man are marked by relative apathy and indolence, and is all the closer to the end.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius

Take advantage of all the moments of youth, because old age is never late. Enjoy yourself while you are in the spring of life.
Ovid, 43 b. C. - 17 a. C, Roman writer, The Art of Love 

Years pass and go by as the water; the wave that has moved before our eyes, like the time that passes, will not return again. One must take advantage of his youth. No matter how happy we are, age escapes from us rapidly, and nothing is as before.
Ovid, 43 b. C. - 17 a. C, Roman writer, The Art of Love

Shakespeare & Old age

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet, As You Like It

ESSAY
ON the MEANING OF LIFE and satisfaction In old age

It’s very common to associate youth with happy days, and old age with more difficult ones, or with the misfortune that surrounds our existence.

It’s part of the ancient tradition – literary, philosophical and also popular. «I should describe old age as a kind of incurable disease»; «An old man in his rudiments is a disgraceful object», said Seneca almost two thousand years ago, expressing the current opinion. Thence the advice of one of his (almost) contemporaries: «Enjoy yourself while in the spring of life» (Ovid).

There are, notwithstanding, other opinions, or more nuanced ones, about the connection between happiness and age. How many young people experience the plenitude that Joseph Conrad remembers with nostalgia in his Youth: «I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more – the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires – and expires, too soon, too soon – before life itself»?

Bernard Lovell, for instance, expressed another opinion: «Youth is vivid rather than happy, but memory always remembers the happy things». 

Maturity and even old-age may be associated with happy existences, says Cicero in his essay about old age (De Senectude): «Old age, when honourable, has an authority that is worth more them all the pleasures of youth ».

Physical decrepitude may indeed be very damaging and the cause of unhappiness, but in Cicero's view our happiness depends a lot on our values and our wisdom, and the way we are able to conduct our life and control our thoughts and feelings. To him, happiness is very much a product of our philosophies of life. Old people situation may be far less dramatic than that described by Shakespeare in his comedy “As You Like It”:«That ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything»).

 

 

 

 

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