Quote retrieved from 15 Wise and Inspiring Quotes About Aging in Psychology Today
“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.”
– William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
This quote could hold different meanings depending on your perspective. For some, it may mean that as you get older, you focus more on what is most important to you. This certainly is evident in the video accompaniment to “Connections: Aging with Grace” when Mary Childress Rogers explains she doesn’t want an exotic life. Rogers says being with people she loves is the most important thing to her. Making good impressions and getting dressed up and attending cocktail parties has little meaning to her whereas she used to feel obliged to do so during her younger years but not anymore.
For others, you may understand the above quote as stating that those who focus on loss are less able to use their mental powers. Positive psychology explores the link between positive thinking and immunity and its help in treating depression by seeing the positive aspects of their lives. Focusing on loss can lead to stress and negativity, which can make the body less able to respond to attacks from bacteria and viruses, resulting in an increase in infections. Having a positive outlook on life also equips people better for dealing with serious illness. Optimists will have better physical and psychological well-being and better skills for coping with stress and hardship.
Third, to some, the above quote may mean that when you focus on your strengths rather than weaknesses, you’re more able to take advantage of your mental powers, even if they’re not quite what they were when you were younger. This occurs in much the same way positive thinking helps a person.
Bottom line is we can continue to cultivate a good life, and a healthy mind and body as we age and help others do the same.