My First Eighty-Three Years in America: The Memoirs of James W. Gerard

My First Eighty-Three Years in America: The Memoirs of James W. Gerard

My First Eighty-Three Years in America: The Memoirs of James W. Gerard

My First Eighty-Three Years in America: The Memoirs of James W. Gerard

Excerpt

There is a happy period in a man's life when he is unable to believe that he will ever be old-say as old as thirty. His experience with time is so limited that even his maturity, while perhaps admitted as a probability, is so remote as to approach infinity. This conviction of semi-eternal youth stems from a half-formulated belief that the death sentence upon mankind will somehow be set aside, at least for him. He rejects the thought of age along with the thought of death because he notes half-consciously that death does not come suddenly, but by degrees, as interests and faculties slip away. His ancient history textbooks tell him that Alexander the Great found nothing to live for at the age of thirty-two, thus bolstering his notions with classical proof.

As a youth, I was not free from the universal human-and how fortunate!--belief that things will be better next year, but generally I was content to think that my happy, active, golden days were now. The future, when I thought of it at all, seemed a great blur of stodginess and responsibility. Now that I am eighty-three, I still do not believe that I shall ever be an old man. Perhaps I am arriving at a definition of old age as that period when one has lost the zest for living to the extent of one's physical and mental capacities.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.