22 Aug A man should economize his strength even when he is young. (ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER)
Up to our thirty-sixth year, we may be compared, in respect of the way in which we use our vital energy, to people who live on the interest of their money: what they spend to-day, they have again to-morrow. But from the age of thirty-six onwards, our position is like that of the investor who begins to entrench upon his capital. At first he hardly notices any difference at all, as the greater part of his expenses is covered by the interest of his securities; and if the deficit is but slight, he pays no attention to it. But the deficit goes on increasing, until he awakes to the fact that it is becoming more serious every day: his position becomes less and less secure, and he feels himself growing poorer and poorer, while he has no expectation of this drain upon his resources coming to an end.
His fall from wealth to poverty becomes faster every moment — like the fall of a solid body in space, until at last he has absolutely nothing left. A man is truly in a woeful plight if both the terms of this comparison — his vital energy and his wealth — really begin to melt away at one and the same time. It is the dread of this calamity that makes love of possession increase with age. On the other hand, at the beginning of life, in the years before we attain majority, and for some little time afterwards — the state of our vital energy puts us on a level with those who each year lay by a part of their interest and add it to their capital: in other words, not only does their interest come in regularly, but the capital is constantly receiving additions. This happy condition of affairs is sometimes brought about — with health as with money — under the watchful care of some honest guardian. O happy youth, and sad old age! Nevertheless, a man should economize his strength even when he is young.
Counsels and Maxims