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Age

  • Nobody's ever too old for anything, until they think they are.

  • And just here let me advise thee not to talk of thyself as being old. There is something in Mind Cure, after all, and, if thee continually talks of thyself as being old, thee may perhaps bring on some of the infirmities of age. At least I would not risk it if I were thee.

  • Age plays cruel tricks on the human face; all our repressed feelings become visible on the surface, where they harden like a mask.

  • Never trust a woman who will not lie about her age after thirty. She is unwomanly and unhuman and there is no knowing what crimes she will commit.

  • Youth is not a question of years: one is young or old from birth.

  • There are days of oldness, and then one gets young again. It goes backward and forward, not in one direction.

  • Women are the right age for just a few years; men, for most of their lives.

  • There is always some specific moment when we realize our youth is gone; but years after, we know it was much later.

  • ... the well-springs of love and life lay too deep for the frosts of age to touch. She would be eternally young before she grew old.

  • The fact was I didn't want to look my age, but I didn't want to act the age I wanted to look either. I also wanted to grow old enough to understand that sentence.

  • You don't realize what fine fighting material there is in age. ... You show me any one who's lived to over seventy and you show me a fighter — some one who's got the will to live.

  • ... years do not always make age.

  • I'm not to blame for an old body, but I would be to blame for an old soul. An old soul is a shameful thing.

  • Age, per se, may claim tenderness and pity, but not respect; that only comes when the years have brought humanity and wisdom and the experience that worketh hope.

  • As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it!

  • Years are only garments, and you either wear them with style all your life, or else you go dowdy to the grave.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • "The Middle or Blue Period" (1944), The Portable Dorothy Parker, rev. ed. ()
  • She had accomplished what according to builders is only possible to wood and stone of the very finest grain; she had weathered, as they call it, with beauty.

    • Ethel Smyth,
    • 1920, on the Empress Eugénie who died at age 95, in Christopher St. John, Ethel Smyth ()
  • While lesser women were subtly subtracting a year here and a year there, Miss Bonner did not hesitate to add ten years when the spirit moved her. After all, if one couldn't retain the privileges of extreme youth one might as well claim those of extreme age. The result was that at the age of sixty-five Miss Bonner was variously credited with seventy to eighty-five years and people agreed that she was remarkably well preserved.

  • Youth is cause, effect is age; so with the thickening of the neck we get data.

  • ... I'm at an age when my back goes out more than I do.

  • Where did we get the idea of insultin' folks by pointin' out their age? ... It seems that we think youth is some special accomplishment brought about by the individual himself!

  • She had settled down to age as if she found it very pleasant company.

  • ... youth looks at its world and age looks through it; youth must get busy on problems whose outlines stand single and strenuous before it, while age can, with luck, achieve a cosmic private harmony unsuited for action as a rule.

  • Age becomes reality when you hear someone refer to 'that attractive young woman standing next to the woman in the green dress,' and you find that you're the one in the green dress.

  • Twenty-three is said to be the prime of life by those who have reached so far and no farther. It shares this distinction with every age, from ten to three-score and ten.

  • Sometimes winter days come in autumn, just as hours of old age and middle age seem to start out of their places in the due rotation of life ...

  • Sixty if she's a day. Calls herself forty-seven, of course. They're all forty-seven when they get past fifty.

  • Do not deprive me of my age. I have earned it.

  • How unnatural the imposed view, imposed by a puritanical ethos, that passionate love belongs only to the young, that people are dead from the neck down by the time they are forty, and that any deep feeling, any passion after that age, is either ludicrous or revolting!

  • Age has extremely little to do with anything that matters. The difference between one age and another is, as a rule, enormously exaggerated.

  • I dread no more the first white in my hair, / Or even age itself, the easy shoe, / The cane, the wrinkled hands, the special chair: / Time, doing this to me, may alter too / My sorrow, into something I can bear.

  • A woman who will tell her age will tell anything.

  • He felt ageless ... he was as old as the world and as young as the day. He was happy.

  • I wonder if one of the penalties of growing older is that you become more and more conscious that nothing in life is very permanent.

  • Every age is an unknown country.

  • Turning fifty ... is like flying: hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

  • At fifty, the madwoman in the attic breaks loose, stomps down the stairs, and sets fire to the house. She won't be imprisoned anymore.

  • The older we get, the more Jewish we become in my family.

  • Women get more radical with age.

  • This is what forty looks like. We've been lying so long, who would know?

  • ... I'm at the age when remembering something right away is as good as an orgasm.

  • With a triumphant smile, / I confront time / as its edged diamond / sculpts my features.

  • I'm just the same age I've always been.

  • I am in perfect health, and hear it said I look better than ever I did in my life, which is one of those lies one is always glad to hear.

  • It was formerly a terrifying view to me that I should one day be an old woman. I now find that Nature has provided pleasures for every state.

  • Tis a Maxim with me to be young as long as one can. There is nothing can pay one for that invaluable ignorance which is the companion of youth, those sanguine groundlesse Hopes, and that lively vanity which makes all the Happinesse of Life. To my extreme Mortification I grow wiser every day ...

  • My age is my own private business and I intend to keep it so — if I can. I am not so old that I am ashamed of my age and I am not so young that I couldn't have written my book and that is all the public needs to know about my age.

    • Margaret Mitchell,
    • 1936, in Richard Harwell, ed., Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind Letters 1936-1949 ()
  • It is so easy for a middle-aged person, in the presence of youth, to be deluded about his own age. The young faces are so exactly like the one he saw in his own mirror — only day before yesterday, it seems.

  • Life, though it is short, is very long, and contains so much. And one does not, to one's consciousness, change as one's outward appearance and capabilities do. Doesn't Mrs. Somerville say that, so far from feeling old, she was not always quite certain (up in the seventies) whether she was quite grown up!

    • Margaret Oliphant,
    • in Mrs. Harry Coghill, ed., The Autobiography and Letters of Mrs. M.O.W. Oliphant ()
  • It's not how many years you've lived, it's how they've left you.

  • Age transfigures, or petrifies.

  • In youth we learn, in age we understand.

  • To be young is delightful; to be old is comfortable.

  • You stay young as long as you can learn, acquire new habits and suffer contradiction.

  • In the end, as you get older and older, your life is your life, and you are alone with it.

  • I never feel age. ... If you have creative work, you don't have age or time.

  • You are only young once. At the time it seems endless, and is gone in a flash; and then for a very long time you are old.

  • Memory cheats us no less than hope by hazing over those things that we would fain forget; but who that has plodded on to middle age would take back upon his shoulders ten of the vanished years, with their mingled pleasures and pains? Who would return to the youth he is forever pretending to regret?

  • I am seventy years old, a gray age weighted with uncompromising biblical allusions. It ought to have a gray outlook, but it hasn't, because a glint of dazzling sunshine is dancing merrily ahead of me.

  • ... I am eighty years old. There seems to be nothing to add to this statement. I have reached the age of undecorated facts — facts that refuse to be softened by sentiment, or confused by nobility of phrase.

  • The birds sing louder when you grow old.

  • ... age / has gutted me to rubbing bones / knotted up in a leather sack ...

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "At the well," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Though he had lost the fire of youth, he saw that the comfortable embers of age were still warm.

  • ... the old alone have finality. What is true of the young today may be false tomorrow. They are enveloped in emotion; and emotion as a state of being is fluent and evanescent.

  • It is no exaggeration to say that I feel younger at sixty than I felt at twenty ...

  • ... age's snow. Hides not colder depths below ...

  • Growing older is mainly an ordeal of the imagination — a moral disease, a social pathology ...

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Double Standard of Aging," The Saturday Review ()
  • ... there comes a time when ambition ceases to burn, or romance to stir, and the highest cry of the human heart is for peace.

  • It was the throats of women that died first. With men it was the nape of the neck. It withered or it grew heavy; men wrote their lives there, where they could not see what they had written. But with women it was the throat.

  • Well, that was life. It was an old tree, and the old passed on. Probably they did not mind. There came a time when all sap ran slowly, and the peace of age with all things behind it merged easily into the peace of death. The difficult thing was to be young.

  • That is the tragedy of growing old, Chris. You don't leave the world. It leaves you.

  • I shall be thirty-one next birthday. My youth is gone like a dream; and very little use have I ever made of it. What have I done these last thirty years? Precious little.

    • Charlotte Brontë,
    • 1847, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 ()
  • Youth has its romance, and maturity its wisdom, as morning and spring have their freshness, noon and summer their power, night and winter their repose. Each attribute is good in its own season.

    • Charlotte Brontë,
    • 1850, in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, vol. 2 ()
  • Yours is the year that counts no season; / I can never be sure what age you are.

  • At my age the bones are water in the morning until food is given them.

  • She was glad that sometimes, by night, her beauty crawled out of the pit age had dug for it ...

  • ... she was wilting, withering, diminishing, though she still spelt magnificence, as a word retains the same meaning even if it be printed in smaller and smaller type.

  • Women are as old as they feel, and men are old when they lose their feelings.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • [To the angry actor who told Mae, 'You forget I've been an actress for forty years':] Don't worry, dear, I'll keep your secret.

    • Mae West,
    • in George Eells and Stanley Musgrove, Mae West ()
  • You're never too old to become younger.

    • Mae West,
    • in Jill Watts, Mae West: An Icon in Black and White ()
  • Seventy is wormwood / Seventy is gall / But it's better to be seventy / Than not alive at all.

  • People will say, 'Seventy isn't old, it's middle-aged,' and I think, middle of what — 140?

    • Judith Martin,
    • in Susan Goodman, "Judith Martin," Modern Maturity ()
  • It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our own sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves; but we grow old and we see that these our sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to own, nay that they give a charm to any character, and so our struggle with them dies away.

  • One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.

    • Gertrude Stein,
    • letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925), in Edmund Wilson, ed., The Crack-Up ()
  • When we are young the idea of death or failure is intolerable to us; even the possibility of ridicule we cannot bear. But we have also an unconquerable faith in our own stars, and in the impossibility of anything venturing to go against us. As we grow old we slowly come to believe that everything will turn out badly for us, and that failure is in the nature of things, but then we do not much mind what happens to us one way or the other. In this way a balance is obtained.

    • Isak Dinesen,
    • "The Deluge at Norderney," Seven Gothic Tales ()
  • In a dream you are never eighty.

  • We turn not older with years, but newer every day.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • 1874, in Mabel Loomis Todd, ed., Letters of Emily Dickinson, vol. 2 ()
  • The worst thing anyone has ever said about me is that I'm fifty. Which I am. Oh that bitch. I was so hurt.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Michéle Brown and Ann O'Connor, Hammer and Tongues ()
  • How to fool yourself into feeling younger: When you go to restaurants, always check a coat and a skateboard.

  • Eleven is just about the best age for almost anything.

  • You're so young you make me sick! I have blouses older than you!

    • Cindy Adams,
    • to another columnist, in Susan Mulcahy, My Lips Are Sealed ()
  • Life begins at eighty.

  • The snows of seventy winters powder his hair and beard.

  • When you are as old as I, young man, you will know there is only one thing in the world worth living for, and that is sin.

  • The first time an autograph hunter told me, 'You are my mother's favorite actress,' I aged twenty years.

    • Ingrid Bergman,
    • in Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess, Ingrid Bergman: My Story ()
  • Oh roses for the flush of youth, / And laurel for the perfect prime; / But pluck an ivy branch for me / Grown old before my time.

  • I'm the same person I was back then, / A little less hair, a little less chin, / A lot less lungs and much less wind, / But ain't I lucky I can still breathe in.

  • I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.

  • It is easier to counterfeit old age than youth.

  • The heart has no wrinkles.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • ... now I am capable of youth, but not capable of few years — that is the pitiful thing.

    • Helen Westley,
    • 1917, in Djuna Barnes, I Could Never Be Lonely Without a Husband ()
  • ... in an old town, in an old street, there stood a very old house. ... as if it and the people who inhabited it had got so old that they could not get any older, and had outlived the possibility of change.

  • The only thing most people regret about their past is its length.

  • I hate the fearful trimming of possibilities that age brings.

  • He hated himself for being bald and middle-aged in a culture that was all youth and hair.

  • Age has very few recompensations, Sergeant, except perhaps the wisdom to recognize contentment.

  • The aging process seems to strike first at the mechanism which warns that we have been talking too much and the listener is growing restless. The signal isn't perfect at any age — drink, for instance, throws it right out of kilter — but it is almost non-existent in old people.

  • I like old people, just as I like old trees: in their shadow there is freshness and peace, one admires them, and around them everything is so calm.

  • Lots of old people don't become wise, but you don't get wise unless you age.

    • Joan Erikson,
    • in Gretchen B. Dianda and Betty J. Hofmayer, eds., Older and Wiser ()
  • After forty a woman has to choose between losing her figure or her face. My advice is to keep your face, and stay sitting down.

    • Barbara Cartland,
    • in Libby Purves, "Luncheon à la Cartland," in The Times ()
  • When you get to fifty-two food becomes more important than sex.

  • The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.

  • Stages of life are artifacts. Adolescence is a useful contrivance, midlife is a moving target, senior citizens are an interest group, and tweenhood is just plain made up.

  • Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life — it gave me me. It provided the time and experience and failures and triumphs and friends who helped me step into the shape that had been waiting for me all my life. ... I have become the woman I hardly dared imagine I could be.

  • If God had to give a woman wrinkles, he might at least have put them on the soles of her feet.

  • The loss of friends is a tax on age!

    • Ninon de Lenclos,
    • in Mrs. Griffith, trans., The Memoirs of Ninon de L'Enclos, vol. 1 ()
  • Being over seventy is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone and we survive amongst the dead and the dying as on a battlefield.

  • It is not mere chance that makes families speak of a child who is 'extraordinary for his age' and also of an old man who is 'extraordinary for his age'; the extraordinariness lies in their behaving like human beings when they are either not yet or no longer men.

  • Forty is ... an age at which people have histories and options. At thirty, they had perhaps less history. At fifty, perhaps fewer options.

  • ... years ... should be nothing to you. Who asked you to count them or to consider them? In the world of wild Nature, time is measured by seasons only — the bird does not know how old it is — the rose-tree does not count its birthdays!

  • ... nobody ever intends to be old.

  • It is very strange ... that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.

  • I have felt very tired and aged the last two years. Maybe the surgeon will put me right — but he cannot put me young again.

  • Why hope to live a long life if we're only going to fill it with self-absorption, body maintenance and image repair? When we die, do we want people to exclaim 'She looked ten years younger,' or do we want them to say 'She lived a great life'?

  • I have discovered that there is a crucial difference between society's image of old people and 'us' as we know and feel ourselves to be.

  • Why the increasing emphasis by professional age experts and the media on — and public acceptance of — the nursing home as the locus of age when, in fact, more than ninety percent of those over sixty-five continue to live in the community?

  • Just as darkness is sometimes defined as the absence of light, so age is defined as the absence of youth.

  • When you're fifty, you're neither young nor old; you're just uninteresting. When you are sixty, and still dancing, you become something of a curiosity. And boy! if you hit seventy and can still get a foot off the ground, you're phenomenal!

  • In youth the years are long, the moments short, but in age the moments are long, the years short.

  • Yesterday, at Andillac, a little child went to heaven. If I were a little child I should like to follow it, but when one gets old, if one could help it, one would never die. Then it is that the threads that once attached us to earth become cables.

    • Eugénie de Guérin,
    • letter (1831), in Guillaume S. Trébutien, ed., Letters of Eugénie de Guérin ()
  • I am sixty years old, and yet I still find myself young.

    • Eugénie de Guérin,
    • letter (1839), in Guillaume S. Trébutien, ed., Letters of Eugénie de Guérin ()
  • When one begins to think of oneself as growing old, one is already old.

  • ... I am just over an attack of grippe-bronchitis, very unpleasant at my ages (I have two or three).

    • Colette,
    • 1929, in Robert Phelps, trans., Letters From Colette ()
  • She was a handsome woman of forty-five and would remain so for many years.

  • I am 46, and have been for some time past.

  • You're never too young or too old to make your own kind of mark in your own kind of time. You're never the wrong age to release the power within you to create the life you deserve.

  • ... one doesn't really grow older; it's just that other people grow younger.

  • I've found two gray hairs in my head the week before last, and an impertinent crow has planted a delicate impression of his foot under my right eye.

  • It is not a sin to be seventy but it is also no joke.

  • We grow old more through indolence than through age.

    • Queen Christina,
    • 1680, in Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns ()
  • We are as old as our fears, / our frustrations, our doubts.

  • With age comes the inner, the higher life. Who would be forever young, to dwell always in externals?

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1853, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • For years I wanted to be older, and now I am.

  • ... we were at the age where we had almost been forgotten but were not quite old enough to be heralded for still being alive after all these years.

  • A face that has the marks of having lived intensely, that expresses some phase of life, some dominant quality or intellectual power, constitutes for me an interesting face. For this reason, the face of an older person, perhaps not beautiful in the strictest sense, is usually more appealing than the face of a younger person who has scarcely been touched by life.

    • Doris Ulmann,
    • in Dale Warren, "Doris Ulmann: Photographer-in-Waiting," The Bookman ()
  • I looked into the mirror and saw this middle-aged woman who keeps invading my face.

  • We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves.

  • It is easy to be young. (Everybody is, / at first.) It is not easy / to be old. It takes time. / Youth is given; age is achieved.

  • ... the country of the aged is a land few people think very hard and seriously about before the time of life when they sense that they're arriving there. Somehow, throughout much of life, being old seems to be something that happens to other people.

  • ... as we age we are more alive than seems likely, convenient, or even bearble. Too often our problem is the fervor of life within us. My dear fellow octogenarians, how are we to carry so much life, and what are we to do with it?

  • The crucial task of age is balance, a veritable tightrope of balance; keeping just well enough, just brave enough, just gay and interested and starkly honest enough to remain a sentient human being.

  • My kitchen linoleum is so black and shiny that I waltz while I wait for the kettle to boil. This pleasure is for the old who live alone. The others must vanish into their expected role.

  • As I do not live in an age when rustling black skirts billow about me, and I do not carry an ebony stick to strike the floor in sharp rebuke, as this is denied me, I rap out a sentence in my note book and feel better. If a grandmother wants to put her foot down, the only safe place to do it these days is in a note book.

  • Age puzzles me. I thought it was a quiet time. My seventies were interesting, and fairly serene, but my eighties are passionate. I grow more intense as I age.

  • We who are old know that age is more than a disability. It is an intense and varied experience, almost beyond our capacity at times, but something to be carried high. If it is a long defeat it is also a victory, meaningful for the initiates of time, if not for those who have come less far.

  • I'm too young to be this old.

  • It is so comic to hear one's self called old; even at ninety, I suppose!

    • Alice James,
    • 1889, in Anna Robeson Burr, Alice James ()
  • I have a problem about being nearly sixty: I keep waking up in the morning and thinking I'm thirty-one.

  • By the time we hit fifty, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.

    • Marie Dressler,
    • in Marie Dressler with Mildred Harrington, My Own Story ()
  • There are no wrinkles in the heart and you will see my face only in the reflection of your attachment, eh, Victor, my beloved?

    • Juliette Drouet,
    • 1841, in Louis Gimbaud, ed., The Love Letters of Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo ()
  • The years that a woman subtracts from her age are not lost: they are added to the ages of other women.

  • Age seldom arrives smoothly or quickly. It's more often a succession of jerks.

  • ... some people always have a touch of youth about them.

  • Age sat comfortably in my family rocking chair and I fell in love with her immediately.

  • [At age 80, she was asked when a woman has done with love:] Ask someone older.

    • Countess of Essex,
    • in Jane Welsh Caryle, Jane Welsh Carlyle: Letters to Her Family 1839-1863 ()
  • We like to moralize when we are old because it makes a merit of many deprivations which have become a necessity.

  • All the grandiose hopes of youth boil lower and lower with time ... but it's only the vapor that flies away; the essence is still there, increasingly rich and more savory for the absence of all that steam.

  • Upon becoming fifty the one thing you can't afford is habit.

  • You are young, and then you are middle-aged, but it is hard to tell the moment of passage from one state to the next.

  • I am luminous with age.

  • Irreparable physical damage aside, being fifty or sixty is surely no more of a 'problem' than being ten, twenty, thirty or forty. However old you are, you're mortal. Isn't that exactly what makes life as interesting, precious, cruel, unjust and altogether extraordinary as it is?

    • Sheila MacLeod,
    • "Drunken Drowning," in Joanna Goldsworthy, ed., A Certain Age: Reflecting on the Menopause ()
  • People didn't change a great deal as they aged, they only became more like whatever they'd started out to be in the first place.

  • Then there's that 'You're only as old as you feel' business, which is true to a point, but you can't be Shirley Temple on the Good Ship Lollipop forever. Sooner or later, dammit, you're old.

    • Joan Crawford,
    • in Roy Newquist, Conversations With Joan Crawford ()
  • My God, I'm four hundred years old and the most I can do is look three hundred.

    • Joan Crawford,
    • in Roy Newquist, Conversations With Joan Crawford ()
  • [On having one of her slower running times in her late 80s:] You lose a lot of speed between 80 and 86.

  • I have always felt that a woman has the right to treat the subject of her age with ambiguity until, perhaps, she passes into the realm beyond ninety. Then it is better that she be candid with herself and with the world.

  • ... wrecked on the lee shore of age ...

  • My childhood is very vivid to me, and I don't feel very different now from the way I felt then. It would appear I am the very same person, only with wrinkles.

  • You will be old-fashioned one day. It's more shocking than getting old.

  • One never knows when one is old for certain.

  • The older one becomes the quicker the present fades into sepia and the past looms up in glorious technicolor.

  • One day you're racing about the business of life, harried but vital, a part of its machinery. Then gradually but inexorably you are left out, until one day you find the machinery tearing along without you — and nobody even notices.

  • How old am I? / As days are told, / The earth is younger / than I am old.

  • ... age is other things, too. It is wisdom, if one has lived one's life properly. It is experience and knowledge. And it is getting to know all the ways the world turns, so that if you cannot turn the world the way you want, you can at least get out of the way so you won't get run over.

  • 'I'm falling into disrepair,' she told the children. 'I've outlived myself.'

  • [On her 80th birthday, the secret of a long life:] Keep breathing.

    • Sophie Tucker,
    • 1964, in A.K. Adams, The Home Book of Humorous Quotations ()
  • The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you're learning you're not old.

    • Rosalyn Yalow,
    • in Barbara Shiels, Women and the Nobel Prize ()
  • ... age means nothing. If anything I feel that I'm still a child: eternity and childhood are my ages.

  • ... age is nothing but death that is conscious.

  • [At age 4:] Why am I not a grown-up? I've been here for so many years.

    • Laura Owen,
    • in Lisa Birnbach et al., 1,003 Great Things About Getting Older ()
  • Age and youth have the same appetites but not the same teeth.

    • Magdalena Samozwaniec,
    • in Jacek Galazka and ‎Barbara Świdzińska, eds., A Treasury of Polish Aphorisms ()
  • My own opinion is that youthfulness of feeling is retained, as is youthfulness of appearance, by constant use of the intellect.

  • [Time was] an accordion, all the air squeezed out of it as you grew old.

  • The problem of aging is the problem of living. There is no simple solution.

    • Coco Chanel,
    • in Joseph Barry, "An Interview With Chanel," McCall's ()
  • Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.

  • Youth is something very new: twenty years ago no one mentioned it.

    • Coco Chanel,
    • in Marcel Haedrich, Coco Chanel: Her Life, Her Secrets ()
  • I think I could do the middle fifties just fine, / Like that actress who, when asked how she could be fifty-four when her son was forty-eight, / Replied, 'My son lives his life, and I live mine.'

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "Too Young to Be Seventy," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • The trouble was, she could not see the justice of her state. She was not old: she was a girl hidden behind a mask. Now that she had realized she was no longer young, she did not know how she should behave. She had become a stranger in her own life.

  • Women are not forgiven for aging. Bob Redford's lines of distinction are my old-age wrinkles.

  • I have never wanted to live to be old, so old I'd run out of friends or money.

  • Nobody who is asked the question, 'How old do you think I am?' ever answers the question honestly. The question that is answered is, 'How old do you think I think you think I am?'

  • He had a fallacious belief, cherished by countless human beings, that he looked years younger than his age.

  • The body keeps an accurate count of years. / ... / But the bold spirit / pays little heed to time. If it grow weary / it is through sorrow, not through age.

  • ... when I dream / I am always ageless.

  • What ages us most is having time to speculate whether we are happy or not, for we usually come to the conclusion that we are not happy.

  • It is rather curious how when we are young we think we are old, and when we arrive at our second childhood begin to think we are quite young.

  • Mean-spirited, / I huddle, pinch, hoard, / envy others' health, / would steal from their well-stocked store.

  • I shall die very young ... maybe seventy, maybe eighty, maybe ninety. But I shall be very young.

  • Age doesn't protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.

    • Jeanne Moreau,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • ... in the United States ... given the cult of eternal youth, age is ignored unless it can be sentimentalized.

  • Fifty is a time of final options, but it is also a culmination, the prime of life, the beginning of seeing how it all turns out. Let there be less marveling at our wonderful preservation and more respect for the maturity of our mind and spirit. After all, the most important mission of a woman's life is not to hold onto her looks. Our mission is the same as a man's ... to grow up. To ignore that goal is to exclude women from adult responsibility. Fifty is fifty, and to deny that is to deny wisdom, experience and life itself.

  • ... within that ageing outer shell we remain very much the same as we did in our late teens and early twenties.

  • Of all the self-fulfilling prophecies in our culture, the assumption that aging means decline and poor health is probably the deadliest.

  • I thought about how people don't get old, not really. They are their absolute selves until the last second when they die and go somewhere else, leaving their body like a tire on the side of the road.

  • The older people get, the more like themselves they become, if you see what I mean.

  • My birthday! Fifty-two years old. Ye gods! Can you believe it? I feel about thirty-two, look forty-two. ... I am fifty-four, feel twenty-five, look forty.

    • Alice Dunbar-Nelson,
    • in Gloria T. Hull, ed., Give Us Each Day: The Diary of Alice Dunbar-Nelson ()
  • ... I dance elated on seeing / touches of silver / appearing unasked / but earned by living / as widely as I dare.

    • Kathian Poulton,
    • "Untitled," in Jo Alexander et al., eds., Women and Aging: An Anthology by Women ()
  • This woman makes me feel reconciled to old age. What vitality — she's like a wood fire singing and sparkling, alive with flame.

  • We may be aware of small increments of getting older; we may meet an increasing number of people who make us uneasy with their youth; but the fact of being old ourselves comes as a surprise, and is often accompanied by the belief that there has been some mistake.

  • ... nothing makes people crosser than being considered too old for love ...

  • She was one of those ... women who seem to think that youth is a matter of bright clothes, make-up, and incessant conversation ...

  • Like a colt in the meadow / with no boundary / allow me / to wander around / till I hear the autumn / stealthily / strolling by my door.

  • You know you're old when ... they've discontinued your blood type.

  • [At age 85:] Sure, I'm for helping the elderly. I'm going to be old myself someday.

    • Lillian Carter,
    • in James David Barber, The Presidential Character ()
  • ... I think living to be one hundred would be great, but living to fifty twice would be so much better.

  • [At age 110:] I've only ever had one wrinkle, and I'm sitting on it.

  • ... she remains / forever, / always incredibly old / but, incredibly, never older.

  • Life is like a cup of tea, the sugar is all at the bottom!

    • Julia Ward Howe,
    • in Maud Howe Elliott, The Eleventh Hour in the Life of Julia Ward Howe ()
  • A man reporter asked me on the telephone: 'Is it true you are 78?' I replied: 'No. Eighty-two.' 'But I read last week that you are 78.' 'Yes, but that was last week. This week I'm 82.'

    • Edith Sitwell,
    • 1937, in John Lehmann and Derek Parker, eds., Selected Letters ()
  • The tragedy of age is not that we are old, but that we are young.

  • ... Emily and I have now reached the time in life when not only do we lie about our ages, we forget what we've said they are.

    • Cornelia Otis Skinner,
    • in Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough, Our Hearts Were Young and Gay ()
  • One of the best things about aging is being able to watch imagination overtake memory.

    • Harriet Doerr,
    • "Edie: A Life," The Tiger in the Grass: Stories and Other Inventions ()
  • ... how old am I? You must tell. / Just as old as I seem to you!

  • How do you tell your mother that you feel you're getting ... old? If I'm ... old, then what is she?

  • Age is a subjective experience, as is time. ... A moment of ecstasy may seem to last beyond its objective measurement on the clock, so may days or weeks of idleness appear to vanish without a trace. It is the same with age — for what is age but time?

  • The only problem is whether one adds life to one's years or years to one's life.

  • I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it.

  • In your teens, you think you know everything, and you know nothing. By your thirties, you're sure you know nothing, but you're happy with that.

  • ... younger and middle-aged people need to grow up about growing up. ... They think if they don't notice us, they can continue to believe that they'll never die. Old people remind them that they're mortal.

  • There are only two periods in a woman's life when she hopes to be taken for older than she is, under sixteen and over ninety.

  • ... her grandmother, as she gets older, is not fading but rather becoming more concentrated.

  • I suspect that in old age we naturally turn to the issues left unfinished in youth and to old grooves of behavior we cut deep in those energetic years. One never loses one's youth. It is always just hiding under the wrinkles, excited for a chance to be out in the open air again.

    • Doris Haddock,
    • with Dennis Burke, Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year ()
  • My body was never entirely the same from day to day; there would usually be some newly sore toe or something pinching or rubbing or aching somewhere to create an annoying backbeat for the day's trudge — the ache du jour. After age forty, it's always something. But after eight-five, it's always nearly everything.

    • Doris Haddock,
    • with Dennis Burke, Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year ()
  • A day of bliss is quickly told, / A thousand would not make us old / As one of sorrow doth — / It is by cares, by woes and tears, / We round the sum of human years — ...

  • We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.

  • By 75 three generations have come and gone and as we get older it is not only the world that becomes stranger, but our own multiplying and discarded identities.

  • I shall die young though many my years are — / For I was born under a kind star.

  • Men don't have to worry about turning forty. They have to worry about turning ninety, and even then they can father children. They just can't recognize them or pick them up.

  • I have no romantic feelings about age. Either you are interesting at any age or you are not. There is nothing particularly interesting about being old — or being young, for that matter.

  • It's true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place.

  • Eighty's a landmark and people treat you differently than they do when you're seventy-nine. At seventy-nine, if you drop something it just lies there. At eighty, people pick it up for you.

  • Everyone has a chronological age, and everyone is also timeless. The essential being who you were as a baby and who you are today remains always the same.

  • As in everything else, I find that age is not good for much, that one becomes deafer and less sensitive. Also, the higher up the mountain you climb, the less of a view you get. A mist closes in and cheats you of the hoped-for and expected opportunity to see far and wide ...

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • letter, in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • It seems to me nowadays that the most important task for someone who is aging is to spread love and warmth wherever possible.

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • letter (1916), in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • I want to get leaner and meaner / Sharp edged / Color of the ground / Till I discorporate / From sheer joy.

    • Julia Kooken,
    • "Outrageous Old Woman," in Jeanne Tetrault and Sherry Thomas, eds., Country Women ()
  • She had finally reached the age where she was more afraid of getting old than dying.

  • Her ageing self often seemed to her an enemy of her real self, the self that had never changed. The enemy was a stupid one, fortunately; she merely had to keep an eye on it in order to keep it outwitted. Other selves that had arisen in her life had been much worse; how terrible had been the struggle with some of them!

  • Today age segregation has passed all sane limits. Not only are fifteen-year-olds isolated from seventy-year-olds but social groups divide those in high school from those in junior high, and those who are twenty from those who are twenty-five. There are middle-middle-age groups, late-middle-age groups, and old-age groups — as though people with five years between them could not possibly have anything in common.

  • We have two choices when it comes to aging: sit and be miserable or get on the horse and have the ride of our lives.

  • When I am an old woman I shall wear purple ...

    • Jenny Joseph,
    • "Warning," in Sandra Martz, ed., When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple ()
  • 'When I was your age — .' 'No one,' said Viki, 'is ever anyone else's age, except physically.'

  • The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, sleep sufficiently, work industriously, worship faithfully — and then lie about your age.

    • Lucille Ball,
    • in Bob Chieger, Was It Good for You, Too? ()
  • ... when she got around to it she would entertain age pleasantly, just as she had put many another awkward guest at ease in her house.

  • [On being asked in her later years if she were Tallulah:] I'm what's left of her, dahling.

  • ... I'd like to grow very old as slowly as possible.

  • Having watched herself in the speckled mirror ... she was already shocked beyond surprise at what the flat hand of age could do.

  • Forty-seven is nothing at all, nor is any age unless you're a cheese ...

    • Billie Burke,
    • with Cameron Shipp, With Powder on My Nose ()
  • A woman isn't as old as she thinks she is. She's as old as men think she is.

    • Billie Burke,
    • with Cameron Shipp, With Powder on My Nose ()
  • A woman past forty should make up her mind to be young, not her face.

  • I'm not as old as I used to be.

  • I don't want to be younger, I just want to look it.

  • One thing they don't tell you about growing old — you don't feel old, you just feel like yourself. And it's true. I don't feel eighty-nine years old. I simply am eighty-nine years old.

  • I was grown up at ten, and first began to grow young at forty.

    • Madge Kendal,
    • in Mrs. Alec-Tweedie, Behind the Footlights ()
  • I'm like old wine. They don't bring me out very often, but I'm well preserved.

  • I'm a hundred-and-one years old and at my age, honey, I can say what I want!

    • Bessie Delany,
    • in Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, Having Our Say ()
  • We grow old as soon as we cease to love and trust.

  • ... we don't feel that we're 105 and 103 — we feel half that old! Even after a century of living, we haven't tried everything. We've only just started.

    • Sadie Delany,
    • in Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth, The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday Wisdom ()
  • How true it is that the years a woman subtracts from her age are not lost. They are added to other women's.

    • Diane de Poitiers,
    • in Shari Beck, ed., A Portrait in Black and White: Diane de Poitiers in Her Own Words ()
  • Some things get better with age, but after a certain point, the mind isn't among them.

  • How short the road has suddenly become, / The end of which seemed out of sight before!

  • Certainly it's nicer to refer to middle age as 'maturity,' but, like calling green beans haricots verts à l'Anglaise, the difference is academic.

  • Never mind being over fifty. The heart is hungry a long time.

  • I would not climb life's hill again — Glory be! I'm sixty!

    • Mrs. C.B.F.,
    • in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • I glory in my silvering hair, / I love my comfortable shoes — / I'm glad I'm sixty!

    • Mrs. C.B.F.,
    • in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • I do the things I like to do, / And leave undone the things I don't — / Because I'm sixty!

    • Mrs. C.B.F.,
    • in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • [Upon being asked when sexual jealousy ends:] Why ask me, how should I know, I'm only eighty-five.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Italian Days ()
  • Youth is thy gift, — the youth that baffles Time.

    • Louise Chandler Moulton,
    • to Julia Ward Howe on her birthday, in Lilian Whiting, Women Who Have Ennobled Life ()
  • Fighting aging is like the War on Drugs. It's expensive, does more harm than good, and has been proven to never end.

  • In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.

  • We need to break through the age mystique by continuing to grow, solving problems, making social changes. We need to see our age as an uncharted adventure.

  • Let's redefine this toxic term like this: Senior moment: (1) Any accomplishment, large or small, possible because acuity, confidence, and gumption increase with age. (2) A memory lapse or other sign of ineptitude, attributable to advancing age. Obsolete.

  • ... I'm afraid people only begin to compliment one on one's youth when it is gone.

  • It's a devastating experience the first time a woman gets called 'ma'am.' A friend of mine first heard it from an A&P delivery boy, 'Where should I put these, ma'am?' 'Put them here in the bedroom,' she said. I don't know what happened, but that delivery boy never called her ma'am after that.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • "I'm Glad I'm a Middle-Aged Sex Object," McCall's ()
  • Ask who wants to live to be a hundred, and the answer is the person who is ninety-nine.