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Sunday, November 22, 2015

I was born on this day in 1948; a few ruminations on growing old, plus the Thanksgiving birthday pattern

For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works: The Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern.

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
~H. L. Mencken

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.
~ Agatha Christie

All would live long, but none would be old.
~Benjamin Franklin

The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
~Clarence Darrow

Every old man complains of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation.
~Dr. Johnson

Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.
~Thomas Jefferson

How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young -- or slender.
~William James

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.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded.
~W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.
~W. Somerset Maugham

Optima quaeque dies miseris mortalibus aevi prima fugit: subeunt morbi tristique senectus et labor, et durae rapit inclementia mortis.

~Virgil
Of the measure of days allowed to piteous mortals, the best days are first to leave: illness and sorry old age loom up, suffering and death's untender mercies take all away.
Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age. 
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

When the loud day for men who sow and reap
Grows still and on the silence of the town
The unsubstantial veils of night and sleep,
The meed of day's labour, settle down,
Then for me in the stillness of the night
The wasting, watchful hours drag on their course,
And in the idle darkness comes the bite
Of all the burning serpents of remorse;
Dreams seethe; and fretful infelicities
Are swarming in my over-burdened soul,
And Memory before my wakeful eyes
With noiseless hand unwinds her lengthy scroll.
Then, as with loathing I peruse the years,
I tremble, and I curse my natal day,
Wail bitterly, and bitterly shed tears,
But cannot wash the woeful script away.
~Alexander Pushkin, Remembrance

The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines.
~Plato

So Life's year begins and closes;
Days, though short'ning, still can shine;
What though youth gave love and roses,
Age still leaves us friends and wine.
~Thomas Moore, Spring and Autumn

Though now this grained face of mine be hid
In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow,
And all the conduits of my blood froze up,
Yet hath my night of life some memory,
My wasting lamps some fading glimmer left,
My dull deaf ears a little use to hear.
~William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors

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