But it's hard to be hip over thirty when everyone else is nineteen, when the last dance we learned was the Lindy, and the last we heard, girls who looked like Barbara Streisand were trying to do something about it.
In a few days I'll have lived one score and three days in this vale of tears. On I plod --always bored, often drunk, doing no penance for my faults --rather do I become more tolerant of myself from day to day, hardening my crystal heart with blasphemous humor and shunning only toothpicks, pathos, and poverty as being the three unforgivable things in life.
Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what's next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.
When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.
I'm 65 and I guess that puts me in with the geriatrics. But if there were fifteen months in every year, I'd only be 48. 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 28 and 40.
For the first fourteen years for a rod they do while for the next as a pearl in the world they do shine. For the next trim beauty beginneth to swerve. For the next matrons or drudges they serve. For the next doth crave a staff for a stay. For the next a bier to fetch them away.
It is a bore, I admit, to be past seventy, for you are left for execution, and are daily expecting the death-warrant; but it is not anything very capital we quit. We are, at the close of life, only hurried away from stomach-aches, pains in the joints, from sleepless nights and unamusing days, from weakness, ugliness, and nervous tremors; but we shall all meet again in another planet, cured of all our defects.
I have always felt that a woman has the right to treat the subject of her age with ambiguity until, perhaps, she passes into the realm of over ninety. Then it is better she be candid with herself and with the world.