I just stumbled across a great blog today called Time Goes By - What It’s Really Like to Get Older. Its proprietor is Ronni Bennett and she has spent years researching what it’s like to get old and her blog is filled with great writing and resources. A must-read is her “A Mother’s Last Best Lesson” - the story of her mother’s final illness as they shared her last three months together. It is her mom’s photo that I use here from 1940 and here’s the link to her story:
Almost as profound was finding her list of the best books on aging. I have been thinking how great it would be to have books on each decade of our lives not unlike the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” series and after skimming through the titles and seeing other books these authors have written on Shelfari I may have found them. She says she has read a hundred or more books on aging and describes these as the cream of the crop because they are “the collected wisdom and knowledge of their superb writers - thinkers and activists who aim a bright, shining light onto the realities of getting old.” The ones by May Sarton have my immediate attention, see if any catch your eye and check out her blog. Java!
Ten Best Books on Aging
Journal of a Solitude
by May Sarton. Secondarily, these two by her: At Seventy: A Journal and Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year"When I am alone the flowers are really seen; I can pay attention to them. They are felt as presences. Without them I would die...they change before my eyes. They live and die in a few days; they keep me closely in touch with the process, with growth, and also with dying. I am floated on their moments."
The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty
by Carolyn G. Heilbrun
"I, who had thought only of the rite of passage at fifty, have now discovered, at seventy, that the past ten years, the years of my sixties, were in their turn notably rewarding...I was savoring a combination of serenity and activity that had hardly been publicly attributed, as least as far as I could discern, to women in their seventh decade. There seemed to be few accounts depicting the pleasures of this time of life."
The Longevity Revolution
by Dr. Robert N. Butler
"...the tragic case of September 11, 2001, in New York City. Animal activists evacuated dogs ande cats wthin twenty-four hours after the World Trade Center was attacked, while disabled or older persons were abandoned in their apartments for up to seven days before ad hoc medical teams arrived to rescue them."
The Summer of a Dormouse By John Mortimer
"The time will come in your life, it will most certainly come, when the voice of God will thunder at you from a cloud, 'From this day forth thou shalt not be able to put on thine own socks.'"
What Are Old People For? By Dr. William H. Thomas
"...practically speaking, there is no elderhood into which we can be admitted. This absence cannot be described as a careless oversight. We live in a society that denies the legitimacy of old age and has little tolerance for those who dare to suppose that crones and sages could inspire us as models of healthy human development."
Why Survive? Being Old in America
Another by Dr. Robert N. Butler who coined the term “ageism.” This book, published in 1975, won the Pulitzer Prize. "Next is the sense of life experience. This is marked by a broadening perspective and by personal growth. One comes, in part at least, to know what life is all about."
The Fountain of Age by Betty Friedan (says it’s a hard read but rewards the effort).
From Age-ing to Sage-ing by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (says you don’t have to be Jewish to like Reb Zalman)
Here’s the link: