This selection of Albert Einstein views on aging will make you feel grateful of old age and also a take on the follies of youth.
Besides being a brilliant man of groundbreaking discoveries in physics, he was also the man of immense wisdom, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
During his days, Einstein correspondent a lot with his family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.
In his many mails, Einstein shared many nuggets of wisdom on grief, eternity, the follies of the human race, God, and the privilege of old age.
Sadly, on April 18, 1955, at the age of 76, Einstein passed away from an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
On the table next to him were a pen and pad on which the late theoretical physicist was working through math equations.
Albert Einstein Views On Aging
Now let’s check out Albert Einstein views on aging and the follies of youth.
“…I have remained a simple fellow who asks nothing of the world – only my youth is gone, the enchanting youth that walks forever on air.” – Albert Einstein
“…ein simpler Kerl bin ich geblieben, der der Welt nichts nachfragt-nur die Jugend ist hin, die entzückende, die alle Tage den Himmel voll Bassgeigen sieht.” (German)
(The Collected Papers Of Albert Einstein, Volume 5, The Swiss Years: Correspondence, 1902-1914 (English Translation Supplement), Translated By Anna Beck, Doc. 154, To Anna Meyer-Schmid, Bern, 12 May 1909, P. 115)
(The quote in German is found in: The Collected Papers Of Albert Einstein, Volume 5, The Swiss Years: Correspondence, 1902-1914, Edited by Martin J. Klein, A. J. Kox, and Robert Schulmann, Doc. 154, To Anna Meyer-Schmid, Bern, 12 May 1909, P. 181)
(The quote in German is also found in: Ich habe mich über die Massen mit Ihrem Kärtchen gefreut, Archival Call Number: 44-445, Meyer-Schmid, Anna (Receiver), 1909-05-12, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: From the letter to Anna Meyer-Schmid, May 12, 1909.
“I lived in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in maturity.” – Albert Einstein
“Ich lebte in einer Einsamkeit, die in der Jugend schmerzlich, in den Jahren der Reife aber köstlich ist” (German)
(The quote is also found in: Out of My Later Years By Albert Einstein, Greenwood Press, 1970, P. 5)
(The quote in German is found in: Aus Meinen Späten Jahren By Albert Einstein, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1979, P. 13)
(The quote in German is also found in: Self-Portrait, Archival Call Number: 28-332, Schreiber, Georges (Receiver), 1935-12-06, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: From a statement written on Georges Schreiber’s book “Portraits And Self-Portraits“.
“There is, after all, something eternal that lies beyond the reach of the hand of fate and of all human delusions. And such eternals lie closer to an older person than to a younger one who oscillates between fear and hope. For us, there remains the privilege of experiencing beauty and truth in their purest forms.” – Albert Einstein
(The quote in German is found in: Heute ist zum ersten Mal in diesem Jahr die Frühlingssonne erschienen, Archival Call Number: 32-387, Elisabeth, Queen of the Belgians (Receiver), Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium, 1935-03-20, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: From the letter to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, to comfort her who was grieving over the death of her husband and daughter-in-law, March 20, 1935.
“At our age, the devil doesn’t give you much time off!” – Albert Einstein
“…in unserem Alter wird der Teufel pride mit dem Urlauberteilen!” (German)
(The quote in German is found in: Ich freue mich sehr über das Lebenszeichen und besonders über die erstaunliche Leserlichkeit, nicht nur durch Ihren lieben Brief, Archival Call Number: 40-105, Zangger, Heinrich (Receiver), 1938-02-27, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: From the letter to Heinrich Zangger, February 27, 1938.
“People like you and me, though mortal, of course, like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. What I mean is that we never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we are born.” – Albert Einstein
Note: From the letter to Dr. Otto Juliusburger, an American-German psychiatrist, September 29, 1942.
“Though I am now an old fogey, I am still hard at work and still refuse to believe that God plays dice.” – Albert Einstein
“Obwohl ich nun ein alter Knochen bin, bin ich noch fest bei der Arbeit und glaube immer noch nicht, daß Gott würfelt.” (German)
(The quote in German is found in: Begegnungen mit Einstein, Von Laue Und Planck: Realität Und Wissenschaftliche Wahrheit Von Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, Mit Enem Vorwort Von Arthur I. Miller, Aus Dem Englischen Übersetzt Von Helmut Kühnelt, Springer-Verlag, 2013, 2. Die Universellen Naturkonstanten, P. 24)
(The quote in German is also found in: Besten Dank für Ihre freundliche Gratulation, Archival Call Number: 20-274, Rosenthal-Schneider, Ilse (Receiver), 1945-05-11, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: From the letter to a former Berlin student Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, May 11, 1945.
“All of one’s contemporaries and aging friends are living in a delicate balance, and one feels that one’s own consciousness is no longer as brightly lit as it once was. But then, twilight with its more subdued colors has its charms as well.” – Albert Einstein
(The quote in German is found in: Sie haben mir wieder so viel Freude gemacht, nicht nur durch Ihren lieben Brief, Archival Call Number: 39-515, Warschauer, Gertrud (Receiver), 1952-04-04, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: From the letter to Gertrud Warschauer, April 4, 1952.
“I feel like an egg, of which only the shell remains at 75 years old, one can’t expect anything else. One should prepare a person for his death.” – Albert Einstein
Note: Quoted by Johanna Hanna Fantova (a former curator of maps in the Firestone Library at Princeton University), in “Conversations with Einstein,” January 1, 1954.
You can read about Einstein and Fantova’s diary aka “Gespräche mit Einstein” (Conversations with Einstein) here.
Here is another article titled “A Final Glimpse At Genius” about Einstein, Fantova and her manuscript.
Note: During his later years, Einstein liked to called himself “empty eggshell“, as shown in his letter to friend Heinrich Zangger.
“What do you want from an old wreck or empty eggshell like me?” – Albert Einstein
“Was wollen Sie denn von einer Ruine oder von einem ausgebrüteten Ei?” (German)
(The Collected Papers Of Albert Einstein, Volume 8, The Berlin Years: Correspondence, 1914-1918 (English Translation Supplement), Translated by Ann M. Hentschel, Doc. 597, To Heinrich Zangger, Ahrenshoop, before 11 August 1918, P. 622)
(The German quote is found in: The Collected Papers Of Albert Einstein, Volume 8, Part B: The Berlin Years: Correspondence, 1918, Edited by Robert Schulmann, A. J. Kox, Michel Janssen, and József Illy, Doc. 597, To Heinrich Zangger, Ahrenshoop, before 11 August 1918, P. 849)
“I [have] always loved solitude, a trait that tends to increase with age.” – Albert Einstein
(The quote in English is also found in: I thank you for your two letters. The gentle reproach, Archival Call Number: 60-406, Pelizza Marangoni, Ernesta (Receiver), 1952-10-01, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: To Emesta Pelizza Marangoni, October 1, 1952. You can read about Einstein and the Marangoni family over here.
“In one’s youth every person and every event appear to be unique. With age, one becomes much more aware that similar events recur. Later on, one is less often delighted or surprised, but also less disappointed.” – Albert Einstein
(The quote in German is found in: Ihr warmer Glückwunsch erreichte mich pünktlich, Archival Call Number: 32-408, Elisabeth, Queen of the Belgians (Receiver), Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Belgium, 1954-01-03, Einstein Archives Online)
Note: To Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, January 3, 1954. Einstein
“…as I’m getting older and I have the sense of distance to life that older people tend to develop.” – Albert Einstein
The image of the original letters in German, together with the English translation is found here.)
Note: In the letter to his son Eduard Enstein, Einstein philosophisized about old age, encouraged his son to write and recommended him reading materials, November 19, 1944.
“I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.” – Albert Einstein
“Ich glaube nicht an die Unsterblichkeit des Individuums, und ich halte Ethik für ein ausschließlich menschliches Unterfangen, hinter dem keine übermenschliche Autorität steht.” (German)
Note: Reply written in English by Einstein to Alice M. Nickerson, a licensed Baptist pastor in Manchester, New Hampshire, on 17 July 1953.
(The quote in English is also found in: I do not believe in immortality of the individual, Nickerson, Alice M. (Receiver), Archival Call Number: 36-553, 1953-07-01, Einstein Archives Online.)
“Youth is always the same, endlessly the same.” – Albert Einstein
(The quote is also found in: Einstein On Cosmic Religion And Other Opinions & Aphorisms, With Appreciation By George Bernard Shaw, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2009, Ch. IV. Opinions And Aphorisms, Miscellaneous, P. 104)
Note: All the above Albert Einstein quotations on aging and youth are quoted from authentic sources.
*Here is a great list of authentic Albert Einstein quotes about God and religion, that linked to reliable sources.