“I dig old books.” ™
...they hear the nail of doom in the number forty... ~Michael McCabe, "40th Birthday," Beyond Midnight, 1969 [Radio program. Episode a.k.a. "Eloise's Whereabouts."
If we had breathing space, we should take the occasion to modify and adjust; but at this breakneck hurry, we are no sooner boys than we are adult, no sooner in love than married or jilted, no sooner one age than we begin to be another, and no sooner in the fulness of our manhood than we begin to decline towards the grave. It is in vain to seek for consistency or expect clear and stable views in a medium so perturbed and fleeting... we cannot even regard ourselves as a constant; in this flux of things, our identity itself seems in a perpetual variation; and not infrequently we find our own disguise the strangest in the masquerade. In the course of time, we grow to love things we hated and hate things we loved... It is decidedly harder to climb trees, and not nearly so hard to sit still... All our attributes are modified or changed; and it will be a poor account of us if our views do not modify and change in a proportion. To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty, is to have been stupified for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser. ~Robert Louis Stevenson, "Crabbed Age and Youth," in The Cornhill Magazine, 1878
To say that Mrs. Wentworth was "fair, fat, and forty" would have been to malign her, and give the impression of a caricature in words. She was fair — full-made, as became a matron — she was, if not forty, verging on that age. In fact, she was a handsome woman of a "certain age," eminently lady-like. She had in her face that expression of kindly feeling which is perhaps the greatest charm of the true lady. ~J. Palgrave Simpson, For Ever and Never, 1884 [a little altered
That's the trouble with us. We number everything. Take women, for example. I think they deserve to have more than twelve years between the ages of twenty-eight and forty. ~James Thurber, 1960
What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of forty is simply a loss of energy. ~Voltaire, unverified, quoted in Reader's Digest, 1978
And on passing his fortieth year, any man of the slightest power of mind — any man, that is, who has more than the sorry share of intellect with which Nature has endowed five-sixths of mankind — will hardly fail to show some trace of misanthropy. ~Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), "The Ages of Life," Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit, translated by T. Bailey Saunders, 1891
No one becomes forty without incredulity and a sense of outrage. ~Clifford Bax (1886–1962) [Written at age 39, in 1925.
When forty winters shall beseige thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.
~William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
Thanks to modern medical advances such as antibiotics, nasal spray, and Diet Coke, it has become quite routine for people in the civilized world to pass the age of 40, sometimes more than once. ~Dave Barry, "Your Disintegrating Body," Dave Barry Turns 40, 1990
But now that I am thin on top,
And sagging slightly round the crop,
I realise what father meant,
By saying he was quite content,
To be what Time intended he
By all the laws of life should be.
For now I'm neither old nor young,
I'm free to give the subject tongue,
And say that when a man's a sport he's
Sailing in the roaring forties.
~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The Roaring Forties," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931
I was cursed or blessed with a prolonged adolescence; I arrived at some seeming maturity when I was past thirty. It was only in my forties that I really began to feel young. By then I was ready for it. ~Henry Valentine Miller (1891–1980), "On Turning Eighty"
I was a fourteen-year-old boy for thirty years. ~Mickey Rooney (1920–2014)
~Terri Guillemets, "The FORTies," 2013
A man can speak of his age without regret, when he is only in the mid-forties. ~Max Nordau (1849–1923), "The Art of Growing Old," How Women Love and Other Tales (Soul Analysis), translated from the German by an unnamed translator, 1896
At a period of life when many have been living on the capital of their acquired knowledge and their youthful stock of sensibilities until their intellects are really shallower and their hearts emptier than they were at twenty, Dudley Venner was stronger in thought and tenderer in soul than in the first freshness of his youth, when he counted but half his present years. He was now on the verge of that decade which marks the decline of men who have ceased growing in knowledge and strength: from forty to fifty a man must move upward, or the natural falling off in the vigor of life will carry him rapidly downward. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), The Professor's Story (Elsie Venner), 1859
my life story
of forty years
sadness and joy
exactly who I am
~Terri Guillemets, "Mid-flight," 2019, blackout poetry created from Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember, 1999, pages xi–xiii
The same truth may be more broadly expressed by saying that the first forty years of life furnish the text, while the remaining thirty supply the commentary; and that without the commentary we are unable to understand aright the true sense and coherence of the text, together with the moral it contains and all the subtle application of which it admits. ~Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), "The Ages of Life," Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit, translated by T. Bailey Saunders, 1891
I am forty-one years of age and feel as if I was just beginning to live. ~“My Schoolmates Are Dead — Died Like Rotten Sheep,” Association Men, December 1916
It's the standard crisis... When we are forty-one we all think it would be nice to make a fresh start. It's the kind of thing we laugh at when we're forty-two. ~Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, Guerrillas, 1975
He was now forty-one and already a man of some mark... With increasing years he had grown humble and realised that the reach of one man's arm was short indeed. ~Lloyd Osbourne, "The Stones of Art," 1902
I am forty-one years of age, and I feel myself begin to change, and to lose my health, natural spirits and strength. ~John Thomas
So, you see, I am forty-one years old; and every day I feel I am still "beginning." ~Enrico Caruso, "How I Began," in T. P.'s Weekly, 1914
I am forty-one years of age... and am mentally, sexually, and physically better than ever in my life. ~Anonymous, letter to editor, "At the Shrine of Love," Beauty and Health, January 1904
Forty-two! Why, it was called the prime of life... until then no one had really begun to live! ~Lloyd Osbourne, "The Awakening of George Raymond," Love, the Fiddler, 1903
I am forty-two years old; I have grown as lazy as a ground-hog... ~Honoré de Balzac, 1833, The Muse of the Department, translated from the French by George Burnham Ives, 1909
Instead of bewailing a lost youth, a man nowadays begins to wonder, when he reaches my ripe age of forty-two, if ever his past will subside and be comfortably by-gone. ~D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930)
In the country they call themselves old at forty-two, because they feel young. In town they call themselves young at forty-two, because they feel old. ~Charles Reade, Love Me Little, Love Me Long (A New Edition), 1868
How old do you suppose you'll be at forty-two? ~Henry Kitchell Webster, An American Family: A Novel of To‑Day, 1918 [This novel appeared serially in Everybody's Magazine, 1917–1918, titled The White Arc.
In the years from nineteen to forty-two most men have fulfilled their destiny... Those who have something to do are busy doing it. ~Lloyd Osbourne, "The Awakening of George Raymond," Love, the Fiddler, 1903
Forty-two years ago to-day I did not amount to much. Now what a tiny step I have made out into the eternities! I am, probably, two-thirds through my work here. It remains to the last third to do my very best. ~Edward A. Lawrence, Jr., letter to mother Margaret Woods Lawrence, 1889 January 16th, Sing Sing
First three decades time's a hero
Then stops suddenly all the fun
Forty-two is a stranger new
But life is like a grand old tree
Strong yet flexible at the core
Roots ever deepening to stay alive
At this age there's no real fix
Just patches is all, 'til heaven
Although it still be not too late
So let the autumn soul shine
Breathe and let thy life go zen.
~Terri Guillemets, "Counting Up," 2016
I am this day forty-three years old: as years increase, may I grow more wise and gracious. ~Hannah Ball (1733–1792), journal, 1777 March 24th
This Spring-morn I am forty-three years old:
In prime of life, perfection of estate
Bodily, mental, nay, material too, —
My whole of worldly fortunes reach their height.
Body and soul alike on eminence:
It is not probable I ever raise
Soul above standard by increase of worth,
Nor reasonably may expect to lift
Body beyond the present altitude.
~Robert Browning, "Red Cotton Night-Cap Country; or, Turf and Towers," 1873
My Betsy lo! the year's gone round,
We see this day once more...
I look me back to boyhood's days,
When I was wont to pore
O’er grammar, ’neath a master’s gaze,
Nor thought of forty-four.
The mathematics I began,
Twice two I said was four,
What more know I, tho' time has ran,
And made me forty-four...
If Providence but sends me health,
I'm blest at forty-four.
~H. in Norfolk, "To
"Oh! no, no, no! You must be mad. I — I am forty-four!" Mary sobbed.
"Forty-four! Brave — courageous little woman," Harry cried, ecstatically, "I don't care if you are fifty-four or sixty-four! I am proud to be begging you — praying you to be my wife. If you could look over my faults, my age, my uncouth ways, I should be the happiest of men." ~George Manville Fenn, One Maid's Mischief, 1887
The professor, taken aback, said, "Quite right, I am forty-four but what I am interested in is by what psychological train of thought did you arrive at my correct age?" "Well," said the voice, "that was easy. I have a brother in the lunatic asylum and he is twenty-two and I think you're twice as bad as he is." ~Quoted by Walter Scott, address to Rotary International, 1971, Australia
"His age, if his looks be not deceptive, is somewhere between forty-three and forty-five." A very obscure and elaborated mode of insinuating that I am forty-four. The truth is — though nothing but extreme provocation should induce me to proclaim even truth when age is concerned, — that I am "somewhere between" twenty-seven and sixty-three, or I may say sixty-four; — but I hate exaggeration. ~Samuel Laman Blanchard, George Cruikshank's Omnibus, 1841
I am forty-four years old... It would be strange, indeed, if I did not know myself pretty well by this time... I love freshness and youth and gaiety, and as I miss them more and more in myself I seek them all the more in others. ~Lloyd Osbourne, "Old Hands and Young Hearts," 1901
Promise to avoid me in future, as if I, too, were an elderly person of forty-four! ~Lloyd Osbourne, "Old Hands and Young Hearts," 1901
It is true that I am an old maid. I am forty-four years old. ~M.G.C.L., "Valentine's Day," 1868
We are no longer boys, we are men, and old men at that. Both of my ankles have gone bad. First one and then the other. I am forty-four years old. ~William Saroyan, Armenians, 1971 [Papazian
Although I feel thirty, and look but a little older, Father Time insists that I am forty-five, and, after all, forty-five is a comfortable, respectable age. ~Anne Spottswood Young, "The Sign of the Pink Rose," in The Epworth Herald, 1920
Forty-five is the age of recklessness for many men, as if in defiance of the decay and death waiting with open arms in the sinister valley at the bottom of the inevitable hill. ~Joseph Conrad, Victory: An Island Story, 1914 [hashtag midlife crisis!
Of course... there is hope in fulfillment of dreams and hopes and plans and ambitions after one is forty-five — or after one is sixty-five. There is always time. Years have nothing to do with life. Keep the body healthy and in good working order and forget that you are not in eternity now. ~Della Thompson Lutes, “Parents’ Problems,” reply to M.W.K., in American Motherhood, 1910
I am forty-five today, my gracious!
It is time I was sobering down,
My life has been, well, say lovely,
It might make a preacher frown.
I have drank of the bowl of pleasure
And the taste sticks still on my tongue,
I have stepped to the merriest of music
And the roughest of songs I have sung...
~Old Tallow Pot, "I Am Forty-Five Today," in Railway Carmen's Journal, 1893
When I was young and miserable, all change was for the better, but when you're forty-five, almost nothing can be better, so you grieve for every leaf that falls. ~Garrison Keillor, We Are Still Married: Stories and Letters, 1990 edition,
I am forty-five, my hair is grey, I have lost a tooth or two, but I have good health, and have not spent a day all round the clock in bed for more than twenty years. But I am frightened, for I feel old. Yes, really old. And I am envious of the young. Can you advise me? Has your philosophy no elixir that will restore the spring to my heart? ~Anonymous, letter to Hubert Bland, in With the Eyes of a Man, 1905
I am forty-five today and I linger
At the mile post that stands on the track;
It is forward that hope points with her finger,
But I cannot help but turn and look back.
I have had my full load of troubles,
My thoughts are no longer a boy's,
And I know that the job for tomorrow
Will be to take rent to my yesterday's spree...
~Old Tallow Pot, "I Am Forty-Five Today," in Railway Carmen's Journal, 1893
At sixteen I was stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. At twenty-five I was wise, self-confident, prepossessing and assertive. At forty-five I am stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. Who would have supposed that maturity is only a short break in adolescence? ~Jules Feiffer, 1974
Old age begins at forty-six years, according to the common opinion. ~Roman philosophers, quoted in Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, 1857
Sire, I am still young — forty-six years of age. ~Luise Mühlbach (Clara Mundt), Berlin and Sans-Souci, 1860, translated from the German by Mrs. Chapman Coleman and her daughters
But when you are forty-six, nobody cares. There aren't any signs and celebrations. There you are, all alone, in the middle of middle age, and no one cares... When you are forty-six, your evenings promise alternatives; but most of the time, even those are routine. ~Cliff Schimmels, Winter Hunger, 1985
Thirty-three was considered to be the "ideal" age by medieval people, the spiritual and intellectual peak of life. Forty-six is regarded as the threshold to "old age" by medieval authors and modern osteologists alike. ~Roberta Gilchrist, Medieval Life: Archaeology and the Life Course, 2012 [paraphrased
He's the same age as I am, forty-seven. Perfect age for a mid-life crisis. ~Milly Johnson, A Summer Fling, 2010
And while I don't look older than I am — forty-seven — I don't look younger either. You can see my life in every line in my face. ~“Virginia,” quoted in Guy Kettelhack, Sober and Free: Making Your Recovery Work for You, 1996
At this stage of my life — at the pinnacle of my creative prowess but also at forty-seven years of age and in the eventide of my life... ~Robert Henry Wright, Jr., Ten Percent Marriage, 2006 [Emily
At the age of forty-seven, which was mine then, I realised thoroughly that Fortune had no more to say to me. She is merciless towards men of a certain age. ~Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798)
Swift was then about forty-seven, at an age when vanity is strongly excited by the amorous attention of a young woman. ~Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), "Swift. 1667–1745," Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets
I send no condolements about the departure of your good old Father. He was ready I suppose, and had his passport made out for his Journey. Next comes our little turn to pack up and depart. To stay is well enough, but shall we be very sorry to go? What more is there in life that we haven't tried? I have just come from a beefsteak, potatoes, and bottle of Claret, all excellent but we can part from them without a very severe pang; we shall get no greater pleasures than these from this time to the end of our days. What is a greater pleasure? Gratified ambition? accumulation of money? What? Fruition of some sort of desire perhaps; when one is twenty, yes, but at 47 Venus may rise up from the sea, and I for one should hardly put on my spectacles to have a look. ~William Makepeace Thackeray, letter to Dr. John Brown, 1858 November 4th [a little altered
And then I am 47: yes; and my infirmities will of course increase. To begin with my eyes. Last year I could read without spectacles, and now I can't read a line (unless held at a very odd angle) without them. What other infirmities? I can hear perfectly; I can walk as well as ever. But then will there not be the change of life? Possibly a difficult and dangerous time, but one can get over it by facing it with common sense — that it is a natural process. These curious intervals in life are the most fruitful artistically — one becomes fertilised — a little madness, and all the little illnesses. ~Virginia Woolf, diary, 1929 September 10th [a little altered
I'm forty-seven now. Up to a year ago I tried deliberately to pull the wool over my eyes... so that I shouldn't see the realities of life… and I thought I was doing the right thing. But now — if you only knew! I lie awake, night after night, in sheer vexation and anger — that I let time slip by so stupidly during the years when I could have had all the things from which my age now cuts me off. ~Anton Chekhov, Dyadya Vanya, 1897, translated by Elisaveta Fen, 2007 [Voynitsky, Uncle Vanya
I am forty-eight, and I do not consider myself an old man, at all, I consider myself nearer to boyhood than to senility. ~William Saroyan, Armenians, 1971 [Knadjian
In the bar, seated at tea at the nicest possible little table, drawn close up before the brightest possible little fire, was a buxom widow of somewhere about eight and forty or thereabouts... ~Charles Dickens, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, 1836
A thing that no one suspects, not even you, is that I am forty-eight years old
I am forty-eight years old, it is time for my life to begin. ~Barbara Wood, Soul Flame, 1987
When you get to my age, forty-nine or fifty, and the physical energies begin to decline, you will need a little liquor now and then to tone you up. ~Unknown officer in the American Civil War, quoted by Jesse Bowman Young, “Moral Perils in Middle
The body is at its best between the ages of thirty and thirty-five; the mind at its best about the age of
I'm like a backward berry
Unripened on the vine,
For all my friends are fifty
And I'm only forty-nine.
~Ogden Nash, "The Calendar-Watchers, or, What's So Wonderful about Being a Patriarch?," 1952
I go on as I formerly did, designing to be some time or other both rich and wise; and yet cultivate neither mind nor fortune. Do you take notice of my example, and learn the danger of delay. When I was as you are now, towering in the confidence of twenty-one, little did I suspect that I should be at forty-nine, what I now am. ~Samuel Johnson, letter to Bennet Langton, January 1759
I'd like to stop at forty-nine,
But pontificate like fifty.
~Ogden Nash, "The Calendar-Watchers, or, What's So Wonderful about Being a Patriarch?," 1952
The twelfth chakra opens at age forty-nine. This energy center channels spiritual energies found outside of the aura and is surrounded by the energetic field that regulates the linkage between the spiritual realms and the physical body. ~Cyndi Dale, The Subtle Body, 2009 [paraphrased