Old age

consists of ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings

Old age is the range of ages for people nearing and surpassing life expectancy. People of old age are also referred to as: old people, elderly, elders, seniors, senior citizens, or older adults.


  • The land of the living was not far removed from the domain of the ancestors. There was coming and going between them, especially at festivals and also when an old man died, because an old man was very close to the ancestors. A man's life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors.
  • I do not wish to grow old, to outlive my illusions. Only a short respite from cares and sorrow, a brief time of flowers, and music, and love, and laughter, and ecstatic tears.
    • Anne Reeve Aldrich, "An Evening With Callender", A Village Ophelia and Other Stories (1899)
  • To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent—that is to triumph over old age.
    • Thomas Bailey Aldrich, "Leaves from a Note Book", Ponkapog Papers (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1903), p. 46
  • 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.
  • Grow old along with me!
    The best is yet to be,
    The last of life, for which the first was made
  • What is the worst of woes that wait on age?
    What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
    To view each loved one blotted from life's page,
    And be alone on earth, as I am now.
    • Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto II (1798), stanza 98
  • It was one of the deadliest and heaviest feelings of my life to feel that I was no longer a boy. From that moment I began to grow old in my own esteem — and in my esteem age is not estimable.
    • Lord Byron, from The Works of Lord Byron, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1901), vol. V: Letters and Journals, ch. XXIII: "Detached Thoughts" (1821-10-15 – 1822-05-18), paragraph 72 (p. 445)
  • One great thing about getting old is that you can get out of all sorts of social obligations just by saying you're tired.
  • It cuts one sadly to see the grief of old people; they've no way o' working it off; and the new spring brings no new shoots out on the withered tree.
  • Old men's prayers for death are lying prayers, in which they abuse old age and long extent of life. But when death draws near, not one is willing to die, and age no longer is a burden to them.
  • All my life I've been taught how to die, but no one ever taught me how to grow old.
  • Gross well says that children are young because they play, and not vice versa; and he might have added, men grow old because they stop playing, and not conversely, for play is, at bottom, growth, and at the top of the intellectual scale it is the eternal type of research from sheer love of truth.
    • G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education (1904), p. 235. The reference to “Gross” is apparently to Karl Groos, Die Spiele der Thiere (The Play of Animals), 1896, p. 68, "die Thiere spielen nicht, weil sie jung sind, sondern sie haben eine Jugend, weil sie spielen müssen." (“The animals do not play because they are young, but they have a youth because they must play.”)
    • Variously attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr or Jr), Herbert Spencer, or George Bernard Shaw, but this is apparently the original source.
    • Variant: We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
  • And the 24 elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who sits on the throne and said: “Amen! Praise Jah!” Also, a voice came from the throne and said: “Be praising our God, all you his slaves, who fear him, the small ones and the great.”
  • Maybe theoretical physics is degenerating but I don't know into what. Let me just say something first. I have noticed when I was younger, that lots of old men in the field couldn't understand new ideas very well, and resisted them with one method or another, and that they were very foolish in saying these ideas were wrong — such as Einstein not being able to take quantum mechanics. I'm an old man now, and these are new ideas, and they look crazy to me, and they look like they're on the wrong track. Now I know that other old men have been very foolish in saying things like this, and, therefore, I would be very foolish to say this is nonsense. I am going to be very foolish, because I do feel strongly that this is nonsense! I can't help it, even though I know the danger in such a point of view. So perhaps I could entertain future historians by saying I think all this superstring stuff is crazy and is in the wrong direction.
    • Richard Feynman, interview published in Superstrings: A Theory of Everything? (1988) edited by Paul C. W. Davies and Julian R. Brown
  • Work, play–at sixty our powers and tastes are what they were at seventeen. Old men in the bad old days used to renounce, retire, take to religion, spend their time reading, thinking–thinking!"
  • One of the duties of old-age, is the management of time. The less that remains to us, the more valuable we ought to consider it.
  • The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.
  • 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.
  • You never lose who you were, you just grow around you, like a tree.
    • Joanna Lumley, English actress, as stated in Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure. Siberia to Moscow, Episode 3. (ITV TV mini series, Burning Bright Productions, 2015)
  • The secret of a good old age is simply an honorable pact with solitude.
  • The complete life, the perfect pattern, includes old age as well as youth and maturity. The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquillity of the evening. Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.
  • The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
  • The great renunciation of old age as it prepared for death, wraps itself up in its chrysalis, which may be observed at the end of lives that are at all prolonged, even in old lovers who have lived for one another, in old friends bound by the closest ties of mutual sympathy, who, after a certain year, cease to make the necessary journey or even to cross the street to see one another, cease to correspond, and know that they will communicate no more in this world.
  • Women of the 24th century consider a man in his early fifties like Picard has having just entered his best years. Active duty Starfleet males, (and females for that matter) have the double attractiveness of being in prime physical condition usually through their seventies and being more aware most humans of the rich variety of personal relationships.
  • Getting older was definitely preferable to an up close and personal meeting with the Grim Reaper.
  • No man loves life like him that's growing old.
  • It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.
  • Age overtakes us all;
    Our temples first; then on o'er cheek and chin,
    Slowly and surely, creep the frosts of Time.
    Up and do somewhat, ere thy limbs are sere.
  • Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man.
  • The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.
  • There's one advantage to being 102. There's no peer pressure.
  • An aged man is but a paltry thing,
    A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
    Soul clap its hands and sing.

See also

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