Nature has symbols for her nobler joys,
Her nobler sorrows. Who had dared foretell
That only man, by some sad mockery,
Should learn to laugh who learns that he must die?
-- Wilfred Scawen Blunt
I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.
-- Woody Allen
Not long ago, a good friend of mine, about twenty years my junior, wrote to me saying that he was already fretting about getting older:
I have been thinking of you off and on again these days, pondering whether I should take you as my role model for how to deal with getting older. I am 61 now and quite often annoyed about the symptoms of getting older, while you often wrote things like: "There is still a lot I can be grateful for" and other encouraging things.
“Ah, my early sixties,” I thought wistfully, “I was in my prime then.” Well, all right, I was exaggerating, of course.
Sub-prime was more like it, I suppose, but nevertheless for me, in retrospect, during that period of my life I was still at the top of my game,...