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Old Age Hardening

"Diminished" — the word that came to mind last week, when I ran into an acquaintance whom I had met decades past but hadn't seen for perhaps five years. He was grayer and heavier physically, but that wasn't nearly as striking as the change in his style. Long ago he was confident; now he was arrogant, so sure of his opinions that it felt pointless to disagree with him. Long ago he was crusty; now he was bitter, angry about how the bureaucracy didn't appreciate his genius. It was as if he had hardened, like concrete setting or metal cooling from a youthful heat. He wasn't shrunken, but in a tragic sense he seemed that way. His flaws had grown into gaping cracks. It took half an hour to escape politely from his monologue.

(cf. Arnold Bennett's comments on old age in BennettOnLife (2000-03-19), ...) - ^z - 2012-06-07