Sunday Snippet: Earl Warren (1891-1974)

“I’m very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. ‘Don’t complain about growing old – many, many people do not have that privilege.'”

We take a lot of things for granted in the developed world. We just assume that we’re going to have indoor plumbing everywhere we go. We just assume that the water coming out of the tap is safe to drink. We assume that there will be food on the table and a roof over our heads. And we assume that when we go to sleep at night that we’re going to wake up the next morning.

These are all big assumptions.

As former Chief Justice Earl Warren points out above, however, we should all be more appreciative of these daily gifts we receive. We should be glad that we can still breathe the air that we do. We should be glad that we have to worry about our retirement, because there are many other people in the world who are too busy worrying about where they are going to get their next meal. This is true for a great number of people who live among us too.

Those of you who are older than me may scoff at my thoughts on getting older, but it is still a very real reality for everyone. Time flies, to be sure, but we should all be grateful that we’re able to tag along for the ride. It is absolutely true that each and every day is a gift. Indeed, many people don’t have the privilege of growing old.

The hope is that with advanced age comes renewed perspective, more profound wisdom, and a refreshed appreciation of what is truly important in life. You also hope that life is able to inspire and motivate you to go further and reach higher, rather than simply making you “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” As it has always been, your life’s trajectory is entirely yours to guide.

Earl Warren served as the 20th Attorney General of California, the 30th Governor of California (three terms), and the 14th Chief Justice of the United States. He retired from the Supreme Court in 1969 and passed away five years later at the age of 83.