very day I hear middle-aged
bemoaning the fact that they were
not given advantages or did not
seize the opportunities for an edu-
cation in early youth.
They believe that their lives
would be happier, better and more useful had an
education been obtained.
Scarcely one of these people realizes that
middle life is the schooltime for old age, and that
just as important an opportunity is being missed
or ignored day by day for the storing up of valu-
able knowledge which will be of great import-
ance in rendering old age endurable.
Youth is the season to acquire knowledge,
middle life is the time to acquire wisdom.
Old age is the season to enjoy both, but wis-
dom is far the more important of the two.
By wisdom I mean the philosophy which
enables us to control our tempers, curb our
tendency to severe criticism, and cultivate our
The majority of people after thirty-five con-
sider themselves privileged to be cross, irritable,
critical and severe, because they have lived long-
er than the young, because they have had more
trials and disappointments, and because they
believe they understand the world better.
Those are excellent reasons why they should
be patient, kind, broad and sympathetic.
The longer we live the more we should real-
ize the folly and vulgarity of ill-temper, the
cruelty of severe criticism and the necessity for
a broad-minded view of life, manners, morals
Unless we adapt ourselves to the changing
habits of the world, unless we adopt some of the
new ideas that are constantly coming to the
front, we will find ourselves carping, disagree-
able and lonely old people as the years go by.
The world will not stand still for us. Society
will not wear the same clothes or follow the
same pleasures, or think the same thoughts
when we are eighty that were prevalent when
we were thirty. We must keep moving with
the world or stand still and solitary.
After thirty we must seize every hour and
educate ourselves to grow into agreeable old age.
It requires at least twenty years to become
well educated in book and college lore. If we
begin to study at seven we are rarely through
with all our common schools, seminaries, high
schools and colleges have to offer under a score
The education for old age needs fully as
many years. We need to begin at thirty to be
tolerant, patient, serene, trustful, sympathetic
and liberal. Then, at fifty, we may hope to have
"graduated with honors" from life's school of
wisdom, and be prepared for another score or
two of years of usefulness and enjoyment in the
practice of these qualities.
The Heart of the New Thought by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago : The Psychic Research Company, c1902.