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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Friday, 7 October 2016

Ageing well

Thursday, October 7th., Victoria Grove, London.

On Tuesday my father called on me at Fetter Lane and afterwards a lady inquired from me whether he was my brother, thus carrying on the tradition of youthfulness to which his appearance long ago gave rise. But today I noticed, I think for the first time, the approaches of middle age upon him. Ifelt acutely that he and I were of different generations; tht parent and child, be they never so willing, can never intellectually come together, simply because one time of life differs crudely and harshly from another. He has now the physical and mental deliberativeness which characterises the ageing. I chafe under this slowness, but I need not do so: it is a sign not of decay but of natural development. He balances argument and counter-argument with an evident pleasure in the process of balancing, not as a means to an end, but for the sake of so balancing.

Speaking of ageing, I read the other day that there are wealthy people (all men I think) who hope to extend their lifespan by careful attention to diet and by medical intervention. I find this curious. Not that it is strange to want to have a long life, but to become preoccupied by longevity for its own sake seems to me to be blinkered and self-defeating. I wondered to myself if I had lived say to the age of 60 (I am 30 now), had had moderate success, had loved and been loved, had pursued my various intellectual interests, but was feeling the effects of time on my health and well-being, would I, if offered the opportunity to live another 60 years, take it? I think not. No doubt it is a commonplace thing to say but I feel that life is made valuable not by accumulating as many days as possible, but by enjoying each of those days as much as possible.

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