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英语范文背诵 (7):How to Grow Old

How to grow old

by Bertrand Russell

1、In spite of the title, this article will really be on how not to grow old,which,at my time of life,is a much more important subject.My first advice would be to choose your ancestors.My maternal grandfather,it is true,was cut off in the flower of his youth at the age of sixty-seven,but my other three grandparents all lived to be over eighty.Of remoter ancestors I can only discover one who did not live to a great age,and he died of a disease which is now rare,namely,having his head cut off.

2、A great grandmother of mine,who was a friend of Gibbon,lived to the age of ninety-two,and to her last day remained a terror to all her descendants.My maternal grandmother,after having nine children who survived,one who died in infancy,and many miscarriages,as soon as she became a widow,devoted herself to woman\’s higher education.She was one of the founders of Girton College,and worked hard at opening the medical profession to women.She used to relate how she met in Italy an elder gentleman who was looking very sad.She inquired the cause of his melancholy and he said that he had just parted from his two grandchildren.”Good gracious”she exclaimed,”I have seventy-two grandchildren,and if I were sad each time I parted from one of them,I should have a dismal existence!””Mdaresnaturale,”he replied.But speaking as one of the seventy-two,I perfer her recipe.After the age of eighty she found she had some diffculty in getting to sleep,so she habitually spent the hours from midnight to 3 a.m. in reading popular science.I do not believe that she ever had time to notice that she was growing old.This,I think,is proper recipe for remaining young.If you have wide and keen interests and activities in which you can still be effective,you will have no reason to think about the merely statistical fact of the number of years you have already lived,still less of the probable brevity of you future.

3、As regards health I have nothing useful to say since I have little experience of illness.I eat and drink whatever I like,and sleep when I can not keep awake.I never do anything whatever on the ground that it is good for health,though in actual fact the things I like doing are mostly wholesome.

4、Psychologically there are two dangers to be guardsed against in old age.One of these is undue absorption in the past.It does not do to live in memories,in regrets for the good old days,or in sadness about friends who are dead.One\’s thoughts must be directed to the future and to things about which there is something to be done.This is not always easy:one\’s own past is gradually increasing weight.It is easy to think to oneself that one\’s emotions used to be more vivid than they are,and one\’s mind keener.If this is true it should be forgotten,and if it is forgotten it will probably not be true.

5、The other thing to be avoided is clingling to youth in the hope of sucking vigor from its vitality.When your children are grown up they want to live their own lives,and if you continue to be as interested in them as you were when they were young,you are likely become a burden to them,unless they are unusually callous.I do not mean that one should be without interested in them,but one\’s interest should be contemplative and if possible,philanthropic,but not unduely emotional. Animals become indifferent to their young as soon as their young can look after themselves,but human beings,owing to the length of infancy,find this difficult.


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《英语范文背诵 (7):How to Grow Old》

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