Sage Advice

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” Satchel Paige (1906-1982)

I just assigned this quotation as an essay prompt in one of the writing classes I teach. I look forward to reading the student responses.

Whitbourne included the quotation in her article “15 Wise and Inspiring Quotes About Aging.” There, she explains:

Along the same lines as John Glenn’s quote [“Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar] is that of this baseball legend [Satchel Paige] who continued his successful career well into his 60s. We are so obsessed with age, Paige implies, that we allow it to define our identities. Break out of the mental set that makes you think of your age first, and your identity second. 

I couldn’t agree more!


Whitbourne, Susan Krauss. “15 Wise and Inspiring Quotes About Aging.” Psychology Today, . Accessed 27 February 2018.




  1. To many of us allow society to dictate how we should live who we should associate with, and what we should wear, and it’s all done Senator around age. I, however, disagree. I believe we should dress socialize live our lives based on how we feel not how old we are. Age, to me, is an acknowledgement of time that one has existed on this planet, that and that only. Age doesn’t tell anyone who you are what you’ve done what’s your experiences are what’s your favorite color and what your favorite song is. Age is merely a statement of fact so continue to dance like no one is watching.


    1. It is interesting to consider, though, who it is that is telling us to age in a certain way. Younger people? People our age? Older people? My observation is that it tends to be people in our own age group and, sometimes, younger. I figure younger people do this because they have a sense that anyone older is obsolete. However, why do people our own age do this? Could the culprit be the old “crabs in a barrel” problem (Urban Dictionary: “A syndrome where a group of like situated people hurt those in their community attempting to get ahead.”)? If so, that is a sad, sad thing.


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