Character and the Conduct of Life: Practical Psychology for Everyman

By William McDougall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
Age

Savoir vieillir est le chef d'oeuvre de la sagesse et l'une des plus difficiles parties du grand art de vivre." ( Amiel.)

I CANNOT pretend to speak with authority of the great art of growing old gracefully; for I have hardly begun to attempt the practice of it. But I will venture a few remarks.

Old age has a bad reputation. It is necessarily aware of the approaching end, of diminishing vigour, of infirmities and lack of resistance to physical strains. It is shadowed by the inevitable shrinkage of the circle of friends and by an increasing knowledge of the tragedies and failures of many lives. Yet there is much to be said on the other side.

Death is not a matter for fear and shrinking. Most of us slip out of life very easily when the times comes. We may feel sure that, if there is any life after death, it is of a very tolerable kind.

The greatest evils of old age in the past have been the bodily troubles to which it is subject, as the powers of repair and recovery diminish. But modern medical knowledge and hygiene have very greatly reduced these evils

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