Throughout his adulthood, Dublin-born satirist and author Jonathan Swift suffered from an inner ear disorder that resulted in vertigo spells and hearing loss. Meniere’s disease, the culprit, did not receive a name during his lifetime. The uncertainty surrounding his ailment likely spurred Swift to ponder aging when the majority of his years lay ahead of him. In 1699, at age 32, he crafted an amusing list called, “When I Come to Be Old.” Yet this particular quote came later in Swift’s life, appearing in the essay “Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting.” In Swift’s time (like ours), people constantly yearned for their youth. To him, that was a foolish, fruitless impulse. Swift contended that discerning individuals savor the understanding that maturity brings.
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