John Steinbeck, at age 58, wrote this:
The doctor's lecture always ends, ‘Slow down! You’re not as young as you once were.’ And I had seen so many begin to pack their lives in cotton wool, smother their impulses, hood their passions, and gradually retire from their manhood into a kind of spiritual and physical semi invalidism. In this, they are encouraged by wives and relatives, and it’s such a sweet trap. Who doesn’t like to be a center for concern?
A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase of lifespan. In effect, the head of the house becomes the youngest child.
And I have searched myself for this kind of possibility with a kind of horror. For I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment. I did not want to surrender fierceness for small gains in yardage.
My wife married a man, I see no reason why she should inherit a baby.
I knew the 10 or 12K miles driving a truck alone and unattended over every kind of road would be hard work, but to me it represented the antidote for the poison of the professional sick man. And in my own life I am not willing to trade quality for quantity. If this projected journey should prove too much, then it was time to go anyway! I see too many men delay their exits with a sickly, slow reluctance to leave the stage. It's bad theater as well as bad living.” - John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America