She asked him why he was so melancholy and he said that he had just parted from his two grandchildren. But speaking as one of the seventy-two, I prefer her recipe.
‘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 miserable existence! After the age of eighty she found she had some difficulty in getting to sleep, so she habitually spent the hours from midnight to 3 a.m. I do not believe that she ever had time to notice that she was growing old.
In that case you must realise that while you can still render them material services, such as making them an allowance or knitting them jumpers, you must not expect that they will enjoy your company.
Some old people are oppressed by the fear of death.
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.
As regards health, I have nothing useful to say as I have little experience of illness.
I eat and drink whatever I like, and sleep when I cannot keep awake.
“I eat and drink whatever I like, and sleep when I cannot keep awake,” he says.
“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.”Toward the end of the essay, Russell reveals his top tip for getting older: broaden your horizons.