The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Age Quotations:
70 + Years Old

Welcome to my page of quotations about the specific ages of being in one's seventies, eighties, nineties, or beyond — septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians.  —ღ Terri

Age 70. —
The seventieth birthday [1889] was a great festival. Maud, inviting Oliver Wendell Holmes to the party, had written, "Mamma will be seventy years young on the 27th. Come and play with her!" The Doctor in his reply said, "It is better to be seventy years young than forty years old!" ~Laura E. Richards & Maud Howe Elliott, Julia Ward Howe, 1819–1910, 1915

Age 70. —
Living must be your whole occupation...
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees—
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.
~Nâzım Hikmet Ran (1902–1963), "On Living," translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk

Age 70. —
Death, then, — let us know its value and what it is worth, — but destroys the outward tabernacle, cuts down that which hampers it, and removes the weights and shackles of mortality; it does not touch the immortal soul. Day by day the sands of life are failing, and those sands are swept into the common tomb into which we must all be gathered; but the soul wastes not, the soul grows in strength. There is many an old man, who feels at this moment that his soul is more vigorous, more powerful, at sixty-five, at seventy, than it was at thirty-five or at forty. And what does that indicate? That his soul is ripening, growing, and expanding. ~John Cumming, "What Shall It Profit?," Twelve Urgent Questions: Personal, Practical, and Pointed, 1855

Age 70. —
Retire? That's ridiculous. What does it for you is to have something to get up for in the morning. Now, they say, you should retire at 70. When I was 70, I still had pimples. ~George Burns, 1978  [Burns lived to 100 years, and passed away in 1996. —tg]

Age 70. —
I am beginning to think that my persona as a curmudgeon is wearing down... I have lost, or am losing, my passion for the negative. Though I still feel that there's much to be negative about (I do, after all, read the newspaper), I guess when one is 70 years old, there doesn't seem to be much point in getting into twit over matters that one can't control. I might as well take everything more lightly, for I haven't that much time left. ~Richard E. Turner (1937–2011), "The Mudgelog: 2007 May 15th"

Ages 70+. —
The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion. ~Doris Lessing, 1992

Age 75. —
My diseases are an asthma and a dropsy, and, what is less curable, seventy-five. ~Samuel Johnson, letter to William Gerard Hamilton, 1784 October 20th, Lichfield

Age 75. —
I despair of teaching anyone anything, least of all myself. I have not had a new idea since I was twenty-seven... At seventy-five... I am an empty flagon. Tap me and you will hear an awful hollow sound... I incline now to Crates and the early Cynics, less to Plato and the rest. I am not in the least convinced that there is a Divine Oneness at the center of the universe, nor am I susceptible to magic... ~Gore Vidal, Julian, 1964  [Flavius Claudius Julianus, a.k.a. Julian the Apostate –tg]

The 80s. —
OPRAH WINFREY:  What can you say about the eighties?
MAYA ANGELOU, at age 85:  Do it, if you can. If you have a choice, choose the eighties.
~Super Soul Sunday, 2013

Age 80. —
In a dream you are never eighty. ~Anne Sexton, "Old," 1962

Age 80. —
His body, warped and brown and thin,
Is like some quaint old violin,
Played till it bears the lasting trace
Of the dead player's hand and face—
Played to old airs of love and pain
Till it has broken with the strain.
But even yet, when some one brings
A master-touch, the poor, worn strings
Wake, from his heart of bygone years,
A music that is blind with tears.
~Charles Buxton Going, "Fourscore," Star-Glow & Song, 1909

Age 80. —
The joy and pain felt at eight has a great deal in common with the joy and pain felt at eighty. ~Avery Brooke, Plain Prayers for a Complicated World, 1976

Age 80. —
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at 20 or at 80. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable, regardless of physical capacity. ~Henry Ford, 1929

Age 80. —
Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen. ~Mark Twain (1835–1910), as quoted in William L. Phelps, Autobiography with Letters, 1939  [Thank you, Barbara Schmidt of! –tg]

Age 80. —
The realization that they are old hits some people all at once... A few lucky ones never seem to notice. Like one old lady I knew when I was young. She never seemed conscious of her age till her eightieth birthday. I was coming through the garden bringing her a birthday cake, and when I got to the corner of the house I stopped behind the Lady Banksia rose to look and listen. She was skipping up and down the long front gallery singing to herself, "I'm eighty years old and I don't believe it. I'm eighty years old and I don't believe it!" ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "The body — and something more," A View from the Hill, 1957

Age 80. —
People of eighty are frequently near-sighted, even blind, also deaf, bald, or gray, and they often walk with difficulty. Yet there is no need to be eighty to attain these results. Every one of them is far from seldom achieved by people under thirty. If they are to be considered signs manual of "age" they must also be considered signs manual of "youth." Besides, they do not pertain to all people of eighty, among whom, in every generation, may be counted many who suffer from none of these disabilities. It may indeed be urged that, wherever these disabilities are found, there we have "age" — but that is quite another point of view, and a very important one... ~Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947), "The Art of Not Growing Old," in Harper's Magazine, 1921  [Body age, this is called nowadays. –tg]

Age 80. —
Now eighty years are come and gone;
      He crouches by the hearth alone,
      Or sits the live-long summer-day
      Where slants the sun his dusty ray,
      With knees and nose together thrust,
      Himself some larger mote of dust.
He sought afar the path of truth,
      And stepped it bravely in his youth;
      But, finding it a cul-de-sac,
      Since middle-age he travelled back.
~V. A. R., "The Old Man," Poems, 1867

Age 81. —
When one has reached eighty-one one likes to sit back and let the world turn by itself, without trying to push it. ~Sean O'Casey (1880–1964)

Age 82. —
Valiant man of eighty-two
None would dare say "old" of you!
Flashing eyes of keenest grey
Throw a challenge to each day,
Gallant head of thick grey hair
Held defiantly in air,
Roaring voice and hearty laugh,
Conversation full of chaff,
Well-stored brain and heart still young
As you walk the guests among:
Valiant man of eighty-two
One quite young still envies you.
Envies you the courage, grit,
Which faced life — the whole of it —
Scorning physical decline
With an arrogance divine —
Oft I think you will not die:
Even Death may pass you by!
~S. F., "To G. C.," Poems by Three Friends, 1924

Age 83. —
...eighty-three, the cortex slack,
Excitatory processes eased to cinders
By Inhibition's tweaking, callused fingers...
~Thomas Pynchon, Jr., Gravity's Rainbow, 1973

Age 84. —
I am in my eighty-fourth year, but old age has not unnerved or shattered me. Neither the Senate nor the popular assembly nor my friends nor my followers nor my guests ever find my vigor wanting. I have never agreed with that ancient and much-quoted proverb which advises: "Become old early if you would be old long." I would rather be old for a shorter time than to be old too soon. ~Cicero  [Compiled from multiple translations. The Latin proverb: "Mature fieri senem, si diu velis senex esse." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Age 90. —
To me it seems that youth is like spring, an overpraised season — delightful if it happen to be a favoured one, but in practice very rarely favoured and more remarkable, as a general rule, for biting east winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. Fontenelle at the age of ninety, being asked what was the happiest time of his life, said he did not know that he had ever been much happier than he then was... ~Samuel Butler (1835–1902), Ernest Pontifex, or, The Way of All Flesh, written c.1872–1884, published 1903

The 90s. —
A woman of ninety said to M. de Fontenelle, then ninety-five: "Death has forgotten us." "Hush!" replied M. de Fontenelle, putting his finger to his lips. ~The Cynic's Breviary: Maxims and Anecdotes from Nicolas de Chamfort, selected and translated by William G. Hutchison, 1902

The 90s. —
For age is the age of the heart; and that nonagenarian could not resist skipping round the room. ~"The Theatres: Blue-Bell in Fairyland," in Truth, London, 1901  [modified —tg]

Age 92. —
"...Tell me how you have kept the joy
      Still burning in your eyes."
Then, like an old-time orator,
      Impressively he rose.
"I make the most of all that comes
      And the least of all that goes."
The jingling rhythm of his words
      Echoed as old songs do;
Yet this had kept his eyes alight
      Till he was ninety-two.
~Sara Teasdale, "The Philosopher," 1916

Age 99. —
She drank good ale, strong punch and wine,
And lived to the age of ninety-nine.
~Epitaph in the churchyard of Edwalton, on Mrs. Freland, quoted in Edmund Goldsmid, A Collection of Epitaphs and Inscriptions Interesting Either From Historical Associations or Quaintness of Wording, Volume II, 1886

Age 99. —
"Ninety-nine years?"
"My dear child! Do you expect to live longer?"
"I don't know."
"Ninety-nine seems long enough to most people. Ninety-nine years is practically for ever. Isn't it?"
Ford possesses a most inflammatory note-book. Outside it is labelled "Private," inside it is headed "Practically a book." I saw him make an entry in it now, "Eternity: practically ninety-nine years."
~E. M. Forster, "Other Kingdom," 1909  [a little altered –tg]

Ages 99–100. —
"Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."
Pooh thought for a little. "How old shall I be then?"
Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said.
~A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner, 1928

Age 100. —
She was one hundred years old. Nobody could remember a time when she'd been younger. ~Joyce Carol Oates, "Face," in Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Ellen Datlow, 2007

Age 100. —
Have you ever looked at your hands that God gave you, or a child's hands, or your grandparents? They go through a lot in a lifetime, from wiping tears away, to holding a baby, and holding hands with your loved one. Do you think God will care if they are smooth or rough? I don't think so, for someday God will come for us. His hands will reach out and take yours and lead you to heaven, whether you are one year old or one hundred years old. ~Grampa Ed, Does Your Flame Flicker?, 2009  [a little altered –tg]

Ages 100–101. —
May you live to be a hundred years
With one extra year to repent.
~Irish toast

Age 100+. —
I have known a man who drank one drink of whiskey every day, and yet lived to be one hundred years old; but do not believe, therefore, that by taking two drinks a day you will live to be two hundred years old. ~Artemus Ward, as quoted in Edward Hooker Dewey, The No-Breakfast Plan and The Fasting-Cure, 1900

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published 1999 Feb 16
revised Feb 2016, Feb 2017
last saved 2023 Nov 15