“What He Was Like” in All the Days and Night

Maxwell, William

Viking, 1995

pp. 309-11

“He himself got older. His wife got older. They advanced deeper into their seventies without any sense of large changes but only of one day’s following another, and of the days being full, and pleasant, and worth recording. So he went on doing it. They all got put down in his diary, along with his feelings about old age, his fear of dying, his declining sexual powers, his envy of children that he saw running down the street. To be able to run like that! He had to restrain himself from saying to young men in their thirties and forties, ‘You do appreciate, don’t you, what you have?’ In his diary he wrote, ‘If I had my life to live over again–but one doesn’t. One goes forward instead, dragging a cart piled high with lost opportunities.'”