This is one of the Maxims that ishard for me to deal with as I am getting older myself. We live in a society that apparently has a fetish for youth and this makes it hard to accept being ‘old’. Becoming old is, for a mortal, a fact of life and it is because of this that we are advised to accept it. But with the attitude of “don’t trust anyone over 30” that some of our youth STILL have adopted, it is difficult for us to find examples of what it means to grow older gracefully.
The Maxims, however leave us with no excuse for this attitude as there are several which deal with old age and the respect it is due. This respect MUST begin with ourselves if it is going to be meaningful. And, in some cases, it requires acknowledgement that we are not as physically able as we used to be even if we now have experience to bolster our mental acumen.
If we are to “Respect the elder” and “as an old man (be) sensible” first we must accept the thing that makes these Maxims possible. We must accept that we will not always be young, and that is sometimes the most difficult thing about this Maxim if we hope to honor its teachings.