Being old is not just the physical stage of being closer to the end.
It is also the inability to do new things.
We, as a people, used to be proud that we were always the first in everything worthwhile.
We were always the spearhead.
And that is the blessing, "The Lord shall make you the head and not the tail" (Deut. 28:13).
As people grow older, they tend to repeat old known things externally, and even more so in their internal lives: no new ideas, no new movements – all is repetition.
I am not speaking about revolutions, drastic and dangerous turn-abouts.
But renewal in an organism, within its own parameters, is a sign of life.
And when a person or nation loses the ability to grow new shoots, it is closer not only to physical disappearance, but also to the end of its spiritual life.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "The State of the Nation, 1996" by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz