(Seattle Times) Removed to his country estate after opposing Julius Caesar, the Roman orator Cicero wrote a short treatise on embracing old age actively, enjoying its consolations while accepting its limitations. In Philip Freeman’s translation (with Latin and English on facing pages), Cicero comes across as not only a wise old soul, but a mellow one, too.
Some complaints people associate with the elderly are more about character than age, he writes: “Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.”
“Let each use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking,” Cicero states. He encourages cultivating both the mind and a farm or garden, noting his own “mental gymnastics” of practicing the Pythagorean art of reviewing each thing he said, heard or did during the day before retiring at night.
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