Eighty years old! No eyes left, no ears, no teeth, no legs, no wind! And when all is said and done, how astonishingly well one does without them!

Paul Claudel

They went to the bathroom and got their teeth. They went down to the sitting room and ate large pieces of cake.

V. S. Naipaul

Old age is an insult. It’s like being smacked.

Lawrence Durrell

Old age was growing inside me. It kept catching my eye from the depths of the mirror. I was paralyzed sometimes as I saw it making its way toward me so steadily when nothing inside me was ready for it.

Simone de Beauvoir

Life goes on, having nowhere else to go.

Diane Ackerman

Certainly the effort to remain unchanged, young, when the body gives so impressive a signal of change as the menopause, is gallant; but it is a stupid, self-sacrificial gallantry, better befitting a boy of twenty than a woman of forty-five or fifty. Let the athletes die young and laurel-crowned. Let the soldiers earn the Purple Hearts. Let women die old, white-crowned, with human hearts.

Ursula K. Le Guin

The whiter my hair becomes, the more ready people are to believe what I say.

Bertrand Russell

Old people are fond of giving good advice; it consoles them for no longer being capable of setting a bad example.

La Rochefoucauld

Now that I am sixty, I see why the idea of elder wisdom has passed from currency.

John Updike

Old women snore violently. They are like bodies into which bizarre animals have crept at night; the animals are vicious, bawdy, noisy. How they snore! There is no shame to their snoring. Old women turn into old men.

Joyce Carol Oates

We often hear of the beauties of old age, but the only old age that is beautiful is the one the man has been long preparing for by living a beautiful life. Every one of us is right now preparing for old age. . . . There may be a substitute somewhere in the world for Good Nature, but I do not know where it can be found. The secret of salvation is this: keep sweet, be useful, and keep busy.

Elbert Hubbard

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.

Simone Weil

He who would be a great soul in the future, must be a great soul now.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all want to be happy, and we’re all going to die. . . . You might say these are the only two unchallengeably true facts that apply to every human being on this planet.

William Boyd

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach

From the rise, he looks out over his place. This is it. This is all there is in the world it contains everything there is to know or possess, yet everywhere people are knocking their brains out trying to find something different, something better. His kids all scattered, looking for it. Everyone always wants a way out of something like this, but what he has here is the main thing there is — just the way things grow and die, the way the sun comes up and goes down every day. These are the facts of life. They are so simple, they are almost impossible to grasp.

Bobbie Ann Mason

When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men know what I mean.


Time will teach more than all our thoughts.

Benjamin Disraeli

The older woman’s love is not love of herself, nor of herself mirrored in a lover’s eyes, nor is it corrupted by need. It is a feeling of tenderness so still and deep and warm that it gilds every grass blade and blesses every fly. It includes the ones who have a claim on it, and a great deal else besides. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Germaine Greer