In 44 BC, Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote a short dialogue on the joys of one’s advanced years called On Old Age. You can read it in translation in our edition, How to Grow Old, translated by Philip Freeman. In the meantime, take these nuggets to heart as time draws you inexorably onward.
- Those who are unhappy in their youth will be unhappy in their old age as well. Begin cultivating the qualities that will serve you best when you are young and you will have a pleasant winter of life.
- Nature will always win. Certain things are meant to be enjoyed at different times of life, and trying to cling to youthful activities in old age will lead to frustration and resentment.
- The old and the young have much to offer one another. In exchange for the wisdom and experience of age, young people give joy to the twilight years.
- Use your increased free time productively. Cicero himself wrote extensively. He expounds on the joys of gardening for older people. Find an interest and pursue it!
- Do not fear death. Your soul will either continue on, or you will lose all awareness. Either way, the best thing to do is make the most of the time you have left.
There you have it! Armed with this knowledge, you too can enjoy a fruitful old age. For the rest of Cicero’s thoughts, pick up a copy of How to Grow Old.