Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Young vs. Old.


Old or young is not an either/or but a continuum of growth. Babies start so nice, its undeniable. But they have a lot to learn. Maturity arrives on the other end but with a price, a prejudice toward caution which can be a positive hindrance to tackling the impossible – and succeeding. The years pass in a space of time, but each time’s different, so no two lives are the same. Some would reverse the order, begin at 80 and move the other way. But even if we could, would we ever arrive at 18 going that way? Each age has its way. What seems good to me now seemed boring to me then. Back then I knew the rules, now I know how to break them. Certain things like hope and kindness and good cheer do not smooth out the wrinkles but can keep the heart refreshed. And honored age does carry with it the authority to ignore authority. You learn to forego your age or at least not to dwell on it, to be happy just to be alive, to have that privilege. If not years to your life, why not life to your years? To grow old with a best friend and have time contained in joined hands, how great is that? Great enough to not fear having to say goodbye or daring to tell the truth? I’d say yes if only to enjoy the ride. And when the time comes, whether in a storm or calm, let down the sails and join quietly the waves.


Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
Henry Ford

Babies are such a nice way to start people.
Don Herold

Age is a high price to pay for maturity.
Tom Stoppard

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible – and achieve it, generation after generation.
Pearl S. Buck

Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.
Rabbinical saying

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.
Mark Twain

In the last few years everything I’d done up to sixty or so has seemed very childish.
T. S. Eliot

The young man knows the rules but the old man knows the exceptions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent – that is to triumph over old age.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Old age, especially an honored old age, has so great authority, that this is of more value than all the pleasures of youth.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
Satchel Paige

I’m very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. ‘Don’t complain about growing old – many people don’t have that privilege.’
Earl Warren

It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.
Adlai Stevenson

Grow old with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hands
Who sayeth “a whole I plant,
Youth shows but half;
Trust God; see all nor be afraid.”
Robert Browning

I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more, as I grow older.

It is time to be old,
To take in sail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons