Author: Connie Goldman and Richard Mahler
Info: Copyright 1995: Walpole NH: Stillpoint Publishing
Where acquired: Purchased at library book sale.
Why: As one who is well aware that this earthly life is not forever, I want to finish strong and be a viable member of society when my time to depart comes. Unlike most of the "misery loves company" literature that's out there for the older set, upon cursory glance, this book appears to go against the grain of the morbid views of aging. Like Lewis Grizzard says (and I paraphrase), I like to study and hang around with old people; I want to be one of them someday.
Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # # 1/2
What it's about:
The authors paint a glowing, yet realistic picture of aging gracefully. They discuss how practicing such activities as maintaining a healthy body, cultivating intimate interrelationships, gardening, humor, and spirituality produce a productive human being rather than the typical image of the "rocking chair jockey."
"...youth seldom encompasses the wisdom and vision earned over a lifetime of experience. As we grow older, we tend to discount the opinions of others and pay more attention to our inner needs and desires." - p. 130
On physical health: "Let's be clear from the outset that this isn't a chapter on how to plan your daily exercise schedule or menu. We won't outline specific techniques for staying healthy; plenty of excellent books, videotapes, and other materials can help you with that." - p. 178 (That was refreshing.)
"During his eight-year tenure as the United States Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop pointed out that 'disease is not a part of aging. In the older body, most all natural functions continue, but even if there is a decline in the system output, it is still enough to support the body in a disease-free condition.'"- p. 191
"I don't think of myself as a young man or an old man.....You don't look at the changes that take place in a plant in those terms. You don't say, 'This is a middle-aged flower.' No, a flower is born, it lives, and it dies; the process is all one. And people are really no different." - John Houston, p. 193-194
"Without laughter," [Norman Cousins] says, "we are often cut off from a whole range of life-affirming feelings, including faith, love, determination, and creativity." A lot of us, it seems, are starved for joy. - p. 205
"Humor is tragedy plus time." - Carol Burnett. - p. 206
On gardening: "Losing contact with nature is like throwing gold into the sea and losing it." - Eddie Albert - p. 251
What I Liked:
- It let me know I was already doing a lot of things right. Many of the suggested elements of the successful late bloomer, I already practice.
- Although they danced around the subject in the spirituality chapter, the authors did mention Christianity among their examples of spiritual pursuits. I wasn't expecting that.
- Examples of successful late bloomers weren't specific to socioeconomic standing or gender and race wasn't even mentioned. In other words, their stories easily relate to anyone.
- The authors advocate "shacking up" as a viable solution to meet the need for intimate companionship. That goes against my greater sensibilities and common sense.
- The book did get repetitive and a little long winded in places.