Book Review

Quotes: “How to Grow Old: Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life,” Cicero

There are many people who grow old without complaint, “who don’t miss the binding chains of sensual passion.”

“ A matter of character, not of age. Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.”

“The study and practice of wise and decent living. If you cultivate these in every period of your life, then when you grow old, they will yield a rich harvest.”

“But surely, there are activities suitable for older minds, even when the body is weakened.”

“It’s not by strength or speed or swiftness of body that great deeds are done, but by wisdom, character, and sober judgement.”

“And I have certainly never heard of an old man who forgot where he hid his money. Old people remember what interests them.”

“Old people maintain a sound mind as long as they remain eager to learn and apply themselves.”

On losing the strength of youth: “People should use the strength they have appropriately, whatever age.”

“What indeed could be more pleasant than an old age surrounded by the enthusiasm of youth.”

“The excesses of youth are more often to blame for the loss of bodily strength than old age. A wanton and wasteful youth yields to old age a worn-out body.”

“I give no credit to that ancient and much-praised proverb that advises us to become old early, if we want to be old long. Personally, I would rather be old for a shorter time, than to be old too soon.”

"Each stage of life has its own appropriate qualities - weakness in childhood, boldness in youth, seriousness in middle age, and maturity in old age."

"A man who practices exercise and self control can preserve some of his original vigor, even when he grows old."

"But let us assume that old age makes us feeble. What does it matter? No one expects older people to be physically strong in any case..."

"Of course, many older people truly are in poor health, so that they are unable to carry out normal duties or indeed any tasks that life demands. However, this inability is not a factor of old age, but a characteristic of poor health in general."

"When the playwright Caecilius speaks of 'old fools of the comic stage,' he means men who are gullible, forgetful, and lazy — qualities that belong not to old age in general but only to those who have allowed themselves to become drowsy, sluggish, and inert

"The senile silliness we call 'dotage' is characteristic not of all old people, but only those who are weak in spirit and will."

"For old age is respected only if it defends itself, maintains its rights, submits to no one, and rules over its domain until its last breath."